LIVESTOCK-CME lean hogs firm on demand expectations

By Christopher Walljasper

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CHICAGO, Dec 21 (Reuters)CME Group lean hog futures lifted on Wednesday, jumping to two-week highs on expectations that demand for market-ready hogs will perk up in the coming weeks, analysts said.

“There seems to be a lot of optimism in buying for after the first of the year,” said Matthew Wiegand, Risk Management Consultant at FuturesOne.

CME February lean hogs LHG3 added 4.15 cents to end at 88.400 cents per pound, after climbing to 88.875 cents per pound, its highest since Dec. 6.

The CME’s Lean Hog Index, a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, gained 0.02 cents to $80.86 per cwt.

Hog slaughter rates dropped to 460,000 head on Wednesday, 30,000 fewer than the same day last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.LIV/KILL

CME live cattle futures also climbed on Wednesday, supported by declining cattle supplies and strong retail beef prices.

Cold temperatures expected throughout the U.S. Great Plains in the coming days could add to feed costs for producers as cattle feed for warmth.

“I think it’s going to hurt gains. Most of the guys I’ve talked to are prepared for it,” said Wiegand.

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Beef slaughter is lagging this week, with 346,000 head processed through Wednesday, 17,000 behind the same period a year ago, the USDA said.

Boxed beef prices were mostly firmer, with select cuts adding $2.39 to $236.29 per hundredweight, while choice cuts eased 19 cents to 264.86 per hundredweight, the USDA reported.

Benchmark CME February live cattle LCG3 added 2.125 cents to end at 157.700 cents per pound, while the spot December live cattle contract LCZ2 gained 1.075 cents to 156.125 cents per pound.

Feeder cattle futures traded just above even, with the January contract FCF3 adding 0.200 cents to 183.825 cents per pound.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to issue a quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on Friday, along with monthly Cattle on Feed data.

(Reporting by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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