CME cattle futures turn higher

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures firmed on Thursday, bolstered by technical trading and anticipated consumer demand going into the grilling season, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Lean hog futures also turned higher, rebounding from Wednesday’s spate of profit-taking. CME June hogs ended the session up 0.250 cent at 105.800 cents per pound.

Weakness in Chicago Board of Trade’s corn futures also gave livestock futures a boost, traders said, after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected domestic ending stocks will remain at a five-year high – despite a reduction from last month.

Signs of steadiness in the spot cash cattle market supported cattle futures, traders said. 

“That gave futures some stability on the day, as they have been at such a discount under the cash market for a while,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based US Commodities.

But market analysts warned that the cash market may soften going into next week, compared to prices seen earlier in the month, after wholesale beef prices failed to hold early week price gains.

On Thursday afternoon, USDA reported that choice boxed beef cutout prices were $298.37 per hundredweight (cwt), up 14 cents from Wednesday, but select cutout prices were down 87 cents at $295.15 per cwt.

The cash market was also relatively quiet, with one cash trade in Kansas at $182 per cwt, two traders said. Cash trade prices in the southern US Plains are expected to be hovering around the $184 per cwt range, they said.

CME June live cattle settled up 1.05 cents at 173.900 cents per pound. May feeder cattle futures rose 1.625 cents to 238.150 cents per pound.