LIVESTOCK-Live cattle ease after week of rising cash cattle, beef prices

CHICAGO, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange eased on Friday, as basis between cash cattle and futures narrowed, analysts said.

“We had some profit taking, because the cash market finally surged higher,” said Cassie Fish, analyst and author at the blog, The Beef.

Cash cattle traded as high as $124.50 per cwt in parts of Nebraska, up from $118 per cwt a week ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CME June live cattle settled 2.450 cents lower at 122.575 cents per pound, erasing much of the weeks gains to end just 0.025 cents above the previous week.

Live cattle remain supported by strong gains in boxed beef as the country heads into the spring and summer, when beef consumption traditionally increases.

Choice cuts of boxed beef gained $1.67 to $272.17 per cwt, climbing $22.20 since April 1. Select cuts gained $0.24 to $264.07 per cwt, according to the USDA.

“I wouldn’t be trumpeting that the cattle market topped just yet,” Fish said.

Feeder cattle also eased, as May futures lost 1.975 cents to 149.625 cents per pound. For the week, CME’s most-active feeder cattle contract added 0.400 cents.

Meanwhile, CME lean hog futures continued higher on tight supply and strong domestic consumer demand.

CME June lean hogs added 0.25 cents to 108.95 cents per pound, after reaching a high of 109.550. Nearly all contract months found new life-of-contract highs. For the week, the most-active hog contract gained 7.175 cents, adding 7% from the previous week, for a fifth consecutive week of gains.

The CME’s lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, climbed to $100.94 per hundredweight (cwt), its highest since Oct. 17, 2014.

For the week, pork production hit 2.28 million head, down 5.2% from the week prior and 2.2% less than the same week a year ago. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; Editing by Will Dunham)