ReutersReuters

CME live cattle firm on cash resiliency

Live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange climbed on Friday, supported by resilient cash cattle prices across the U.S. Plains this week, traders said.

"We had cash come right back," said Joe Kooima, commodity broker at Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading Inc. "Cash was a dollar better in the south."

Cash cattle bids rebounded in both the northern and southern U.S. plains, after slipping earlier in the week, trading at $158.00 per hundredweight (cwt) in Nebraska, while cash bids in parts of the Texas panhandle climbed a dollar to $154.00, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Cash could see pressure if processers continue to ease Slaughter rates. Through Saturday, processors are set to kill 652,000 head, down 11,000 head from the same period last week and 30,000 fewer than the same period in 2022, according to USDA data.

Boxed beef prices were mixed much of the week, but ended higher, with choice cuts adding $1.65 to $248.93 per cwt, while select cuts added 71 cents to $221.26 per cwt, the USDA said.

Most-active CME January feeder cattle (FCF3) inched up 0.450 cents to 183.925 cents per pound, adding 0.781% for the week.

CME benchmark February live cattle (LCG3) firmed 1.625 cents to 155.550 cents per pound, while the spot December contract (LCZ2) lifted 1.250 cent to 153.675 cents per pound.

For the week, the CME's February live cattle eased 0.209%.

Meanwhile, lean hogs eased for a fourth consecutive session as processors see ample market-ready supplies, Kooima said.

"The barns around here are pretty plum full," he said. "I’m more concerned about the next two months, chewing through the numbers we haven’t in a while."

CME February lean hogs (LHG3) eased 0.700 cent to 84.000 cents per pound, while nearby December hogs (LHZ2) dropped 0.425 cent to 81.575 cents per pound.

The CME's lean hog index (.IHX), a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, dipped 31 cents to $82.47 per cwt.

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