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LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle futures ease as cash market diverges

07/09/2021 | 05:01pm EDT

CHICAGO, July 9 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures eased for a third session on Friday as futures markets tried to read conflicting cash markets, traders said.

"We have the South backed up on cattle, trying to get cattle moved through," said Scott Varilek, broker at Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading Inc, "There’s tighter supplies up here, because the incentive to feed cattle in the North has not been here for a while."

Backed-up supply in the South has led to lower cash prices, with Texas and Oklahoma trading cash cattle around $120 per cwt, while producers holding smaller supplies in Nebraska saw $125 trade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Boxed beef prices continued to ease, though still high, with choice cuts falling $3.38 to $278.59 per cwt, the USDA said, while select cuts dropped $2.65 to $257.41 per cwt. <BEEF-US-CH> <BEEF-US-SE>

"There’s still plenty of meat on the bone, as far as where our prices are at and what boxed beef is worth," said Varilek.

CME August live cattle futures ended down 0.050 cent at 119.225 cents per pound, ending the week 2.775 cents lower, a 2.27% drop for the week, its biggest weekly loss since the week ended April 16.

Feeder cattle benefited from a 12% weekly drop in corn futures, with CME August feeder cattle adding 1.850 cents to end at 159.175 cents per pound, ending the week 2.125 cents higher, a 1.35% gain.

CME lean hogs gained as supplies of market-ready hogs struggle to rebuild.

"The numbers just aren’t there. We haven’t been able to replenish that shortage yet," said Varilek.

Processors slaughtered 1.87 million hogs week-to-date, down 19.37% compared with the same period last year.

CME lean hog futures for August delivery gained 1.200 cents to 101.575 cents per pound, adding 1.35 cents for the week, a 1.3% weekly gain. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

© Reuters 2021
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