December 19, 2017 / 9:50 PM / in a year

LIVESTOCK-Softer cash prices weaken CME hog futures

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean
hog futures on Tuesday were weakened for a second day in a row
as ample supplies pressured cash prices, said traders.
    Fund sales and sell stops exerted more pressure on CME hog
contracts, they said.
    February         hogs finished down 0.500 cent per pound to
66.900 cents, and below the 100-day moving average of 66.936
cents. April         closed 0.575 cent lower at 71.675 cents.
    Packers avoided raising bids for hogs that are readily
available as plants prepare to close at least one day for the
Christmas holiday, said traders and analysts.                   
    Other than fill-in business, supermarkets bought most of the
pork they need until they determine how much of it moves over
the holiday, they said.         
    Investors squaring positions before taking off for extended
year-end holiday vacations could stir market volatility in the
coming days. 
    A few market participants exercised caution in advance of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) quarterly hog report
on Friday at 11 a.m. CST (1700 GMT).
    Simultaneously USDA will release its monthly Cattle-On-Feed
and cold storage reports.
    Most CME live cattle contracts settled weaker on positioning
before Friday's Cattle-On-Feed report, said traders.
    Analysts, on average, expect Friday's report to show 5.7
percent more cattle were placed in feedlots in November than a
year ago.             
    Expectations for steady to possibly firmer cash prices this
week underpinned the December live cattle contract.
    December         live cattle finished up 0.025 cent per
pound to 120.000 cents. February         ended down 0.150 cent
to 120.450 cents, and April         closed 0.550 cent lower at
121.475 cents.
    On Tuesday Nebraska feedlots did not respond to packer bids
of $119 to $120 per cwt for slaughter-ready, or cash cattle.
Sellers in Kansas and Texas priced cattle at $122 per cwt, with
no bids from processors. 
    Last week feedlots sold cattle in the U.S. Plains for $118
to $120 per cwt.
    "I do think the market is stronger if feeders can just not
get nervous," a feedlot manager said, citing tight cattle
supplies in parts of the region.
    Wednesday's Fed Cattle Exchange sale of 466 animals may
offer an indication regarding this week's overall cash cattle
    CME feeder cattle felt pressure from sell stops, technical
selling and lower deferred-month live cattle futures.
    January         feeder cattle closed 2.450 cents per pound
lower at 145.200 cents.

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
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