December 1, 2018 / 12:21 AM / 6 months ago

LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle futures higher, U.S. Plains storm eyed

    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - U.S. cattle futures closed
modestly higher on Friday on short-covering after a four-session
slide and concern that wintry weather in the central Plains in
the coming days could slow cattle weight gain, traders said.
    Lean hog futures were mixed as traders awaited news on
U.S.-China trade talks expected this weekend as part of the G20
summit in Argentina.             
    A winter storm in the Plains is expected to drop 12-18
inches (76 cm) of snow in north-central Nebraska over the
weekend, with 6-10 inches in northwest Iowa and southern
Minnesota, Radiant Solutions agricultural meteorologist Kyle
Tapley said.
    Temperatures were expected to drop next week in the storm's
wake, with sub-zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures possible in the
Dakotas late next week, Tapley said.
    "That should cause problems with the animals holding on to
weight. People are anticipating weight loss, another positive
for the futures," one livestock trader said.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange February live cattle futures
        settled up 0.225 cent at 120.500 cents per pound. 
    Expectations of firmer cash cattle trade lent support,
although bids and offers were far apart during the trading
session. Packer bids were around $112 per cwt on cattle offered
at $120. 
    Feeder cattle futures fell, with the January contract
        down 0.750 cent at 145.225 cents, pressured by rising
CBOT corn futures and a drop in the CME Feeder Cattle Index
      , traders said.    
    Lean hog futures closed mixed, with the benchmark February
       contract gaining against April        and June        on
    CME February hogs        settled up 0.200 cent at 67.550
cents per pound while front-month December        fell 0.850
cent at 57.875 cents.     
    Traders continued to digest Thursday's USDA weekly export
sales report, which showed China buying U.S. pork for 2018 and
2019. Analysts said the sales suggested that an outbreak of
African swine fever in the world's top hog producer is raising
fears of an eventual supply shortfall.             
    Traders were also squaring positions ahead of the trade
talks in Argentina. 
    "I think everyone is taking a pause (ahead of the G20
meetings). Especially for hogs, there is a stake there from
China's pork tariffs," said Doug Houghton, analyst with Brock
Associates Inc.

 (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
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