January 13, 2020 / 11:50 PM / 3 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Lean hog futures hit one-month low on weak cash values

CHICAGO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Lean hog futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) fell to a one-month low on Monday, pressed by ample U.S. pork supplies and a discount in the cash hog market relative to futures, traders said.

“We’ve got a problem where we are still seeing big hog numbers,” said Doug Houghton, analyst with Brock Associates, noting weekly U.S. government slaughter data.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday revised the weekly hog slaughter through Jan. 10 to 2.477 million head, up from 2.373 million a year earlier. .

CME February hog futures ended down 1.350 cents at 65.900 cents per pound after dipping to 65.575 cents, the contract’s lowest since Dec. 3 but still about 6 cents above the latest lean hog index of 59.36 cents.

“The nearby February contract got hit hardest because it was holding a substantial premium to the cash index, which was down today and will be down tomorrow,” Houghton said.

Deferred hog futures contracts also declined but found underlying support from hopes an interim U.S.-China trade deal due to be signed on Wednesday will boost U.S. pork exports to China.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday reiterated Washington’s position that China has committed to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products to $40 billion-$50 billion annually. But a lack of detail on the accord has left some traders cautious.

CME live cattle futures also sagged on Monday, hit by profit-taking and disappointment that cash cattle traded steady at about $124 per cwt in the southern Plains late last week, steady with the previous week.

“The wholesale (beef) market hasn’t been good ... There is more product out there, and the market is not absorbing it too well,” Houghton said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange February live cattle fell 0.875 cent to settle at 126.550 cents per pound. April cattle ended down 0.425 at 127.525 cents.

Feeder cattle futures sold off more sharply, with March futures down 1.600 cents at 145.850 cents per pound, pressured by the weakness in live cattle futures coupled with rising prices for corn, the primary feed grain for cattle.

Chicago Board of Trade March corn futures settled up 3-3/4 cents at $3.89-1/2 per bushel, a one-week high. (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Tom Brown)

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