Live cattle markets rise on tighter US supply expectations – CME

April lean hogs settle down

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures crept higher on Monday on expectations that US supplies will continue to tighten, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

The country had 11.8 million cattle on feed for the slaughter market on Feb. 1, down from 11.9 million a month ago but up slightly from a year earlier, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said after trading ended on Friday.

US producers placed 1.79 million cattle into feedlots in January, down 7.4% from the previous year, the USDA said. Analysts had projected an 11.6% drop, after ranchers slashed the US herd to its smallest size since 1951 because drought reduced pasture land available for grazing.

“Cattle on feed supplies are expected to continue to tighten and will continue to work lower this year,” Steiner Consulting Group said. “The large drop expected in placements is likely still to come this year and will further fuel higher prices.”

CME April live cattle settled up 0.200 cent at 188.100 cents per pound.

Feeder cattle futures weakened in a setback from recent gains and as prices bounced for corn used for livestock feed. CME April feeders fell 1.075 cents to 258.900 cents per pound, after rising earlier to their highest price since October.

The USDA said after trading ended on Monday that total pounds of US beef in cold-storage facilities as of Jan. 31 were down 1% from the previous month and down 11% from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 10% from the previous month but down 10% from last year.

In the pork market, CME April lean hogs settled down 0.925 cent at 86.275 cents per pound. June hogs rose 0.475 cent to 99.850 cents and reached the highest price in nearly a year.

China, the world’s largest pork producer and consumer, had 40.67 million sows at the end of January, down 1.8% month-on-month and down 6.9% from the previous year, the Chinese government said.