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Livestock Headlines

China vows new measures to step up farm mechanisation

China will introduce new measures to speed up mechanisation in its huge farming sector, looking to revive the countryside, boost domestic demand and raise rural incomes, the government said late on Wednesday following a cabinet meeting.

LIVESTOCK-Cattle futures hit six-week high on technical buying

U.S. live cattle futures rose sharply for the second straight session on Wednesday, reaching a six-week high, on technical buying and expectations that beef packers would pay higher prices for cattle this week, traders said. Cattle futures had declined earlier on Tuesday before turning higher and then surpassing the previous session's peak. That so-called reversal enticed buyers on Wednesday, said independent futures trader Dan Norcini. "You had some momentum-based buying ... the technicals on the charts look really good," Norcini said. Chicago Mercantile Exchange February live cattle futures finished up 0.750 cent at 122.900 cents per pound, just below the session peak of 123.000 cents that represented the highest level since Oct. 30. CME January feeder cattle settled up 0.275 cent at 147.575 cents per pound, the highest since Nov. 28 and the third straight day of gains. Trading in cash markets for slaughter-ready cattle was not yet established but some dealers were optimistic for higher prices than the $119 per cwt fetched last week. Feedlots in the U.S. Plains were offering fewer animals for sale this week, traders said. Lean hog futures were mostly higher on bargain buying after prices fell earlier in the session. Most-active February lean hogs climbed 0.500 cent to 65.700 cents per pound, recovering from their two-week low of 64.775. Hogs had been under pressure from weaker cash hog prices. However, average hog weights in the top market of Iowa and Minnesota fell to 284.0 pounds, down from 284.5 pounds a week ago and 286.1 pounds a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lower average weights result in reduced overall supply. "That 0.5 drop week over week will be viewed as friendly," one hog broker said. Additionally, more cases of the highly contagious African swine fever virus were reported in top hog producer and pork producer China. Expectations the disease could force China to import more pork has bolstered U.S. hog prices for weeks. China's agriculture ministry said two new outbreaks were confirmed in Sichuan and Qinghai provinces. (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; editing by Chris Reese)

LIVESTOCK-Cattle futures climb on technical buying, demand optimism

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures gained about 1 percent on Tuesday, lifted by technical buying and optimism for the continued robust demand for cattle and beef, traders and analysts said. Cattle futures shrugged off three straight sessions of declines to rise to the highest levels in about a week. Stronger wholesale beef prices and expectations that feedlots would offer fewer cattle for sale this week helped to propel the gains, with CME February live cattle finishing up 0.950 cent at 122.150 cents per pound. "Some of the recent data has been supportive to the (cattle) market. The beef cutout values especially have been better than people expected given how big the slaughter numbers have been," said Steiner Consulting Group analyst Altin Kalo. The closely watched weekly comprehensive beef cutout report on Monday showed beef prices at $209.57 per cwt, up 14 cents from the previous week. Prices rose at a time when they typically ease as many retailers have already purchased meat to sell during the holidays. Daily beef cutout prices were lower on Tuesday but prices remained near the highest levels in weeks, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. "That's giving people confidence that demand is in good shape," Kalo said of beef prices. CME January feeder cattle futures jumped 2.275 cents to 147.300 cents per pound. Meanwhile, lighter-weight feeder steers were up $2 to $3 per cwt at a weekly cattle auction in Oklahoma City, the USDA said. Lean hog futures were mostly lower, weighed down by abundant hog supplies and weaker cash prices. "Most plants have all the pigs they need and then some," one cash hog broker said. Most-active February hog futures fell 1.625 cents to 65.200 cents per pound, about a one-week low. (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

FILE PHOTO: Workers paint the ground at a port in Qingdao

China, U.S. discuss road map for next stage of trade talks

China has agreed to cut tariffs on U.S.-built cars and auto parts to 15 percent from the current 40 percent, a Trump administration official said on Tuesday, setting the stage for a new talks aimed at easing the bitter trade war between the world's two largest economies.

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Trump ex-lawyer Cohen given three years in prison as risks rise for Trump

President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election, and he promised to keep cooperating with the U.S. government against his former boss.