CME live cattle futures settle down

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) lean hog futures pulled back on profit-taking on Wednesday after rising in the seven previous sessions, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Most actively traded June hogs set a contract hit for the fourth consecutive session before turning lower. The market had already climbed 7% this month by the close of trading on Tuesday.

“The industry has been slowly warming to the fact that demand has felt better since last fall, and just in the past two months demand has become the lead conversation,” broker StoneX said.

CME June hogs ended down 3.025 cents at 105.550 cents per pound as the market retreated.

Average hog weights in Iowa, southern Minnesota and South Dakota reached 288 pounds in the week ended April 6, up from 287.1 pounds a week earlier and 287.4 pounds a year ago, the US Department of Agriculture said.

Meatpackers slaughtered an estimated 489,000 hogs, down from 491,000 a week ago but up from 477,494 a year ago, according to the department. For cattle, slaughtering fell to 112,000 head on Wednesday from 123,000 cattle a week ago and 124,880 cattle a year ago.

CME June live cattle settled down 2 cents at 172.850 cents per pound. May feeder cattle futures fell 2.925 cents to 236.525 cents per pound.

Livestock traders monitored an expanding outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), or bird flu, in US dairy cattle. North Carolina said it became the seventh US state to detect the virus in a dairy herd. 

“We have spent years developing methods to handle HPAI in poultry, but this is new and we are working with our state and federal partners to develop protocols to handle this situation,” Steve Troxler, North Carolina’s agriculture commissioner, said in a statement.

Infections have not been confirmed in beef cattle.