* Feeder cattle close sharply lower
* Lean hog contracts finish higher
By Theopolis Waters
CHICAGO, Oct 12 Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures finished lower for a fourth straight
session on Wednesday as they marked new lows, hit by softer
initial cash prices, traders said.
October closed 0.750 cent per pound lower at 96.750
cents, and made a new low of 95.675 cents. December
finished 1.100 cents lower at 98.000 cents with a new low of
On Wednesday morning, a packer in Kansas paid $98 per cwt
for a small number of slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle that last
week brought mostly $102, said feedlot sources. They said other
cattle in Kansas and Texas were bid $98 versus $102 asking
"The biggest issue is the lack of competition between
packers, with the trade driven by a small amount of cash sales,"
said Top Third Ag Marketing analyst Craig VanDyke.
Processors are maintaining current slaughter rates to
capitalize on their margins rather than ramping up already
active kills, traders and analysts said.
They said sluggish wholesale beef demand, partly due to the
impact of Hurricane Matthew on sales in the Southeastern United
States, deterred packers from paying more for cattle.
Wednesday morning's choice beef price had fallen $1.38 per
cwt from Tuesday to $181.80. Select cuts slipped 3 cents to
$172.72, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
From Monday to Wednesday packers processed 344,000 head of
cattle, 7,000 more than last week, according to USDA estimates.
CME live cattle futures' selloff toppled the exchange's
feeder cattle contracts. October feeder cattle closed
down 2.125 cents per pound at 122.000 cents.
HIGHER HOG FUTURES
Wednesday morning's wholesale pork price rebound, almost
midway through October National Pork Month, and short covering
boosted CME lean hog futures, said traders.
USDA data on Wednesday afternoon showed the wholesale pork
price rose $1.55 per cwt from Tuesday to $73.72.
Bullish traders were encouraged by news that Smithfield
Foods will attempt to restart operations at its Tar
Heel, North Carolina, plant, closed since Saturday due to
The U.S. government estimated Wednesday's hog slaughter at
396,000 head - 40,000 fewer than a week ago.
Traders said technical buying and futures' discounts to the
exchange's hog index for Oct. 10 at 52.82 cents furthered market
CME October lean hogs, which will expire on Friday,
closed 0.925 cent per pound higher at 52.375 cents, and above
the 20-day moving average of 52.12 cents. Most actively traded
December finished 1.275 cents higher at 44.050 cents.
(Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Matthew Lewis)