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Livestock Headlines

LIVESTOCK-CME hogs hit 2-month high as cash prices trend upward

Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures rose on Thursday, hitting their highest level in two months led by steadily climbing prices for market-ready, or cash, hogs as packers competed for supplies, said traders. December hogs finished 0.500 cent per pound higher at 64.250 cents, and February ended 0.475 cent higher at 68.475 cent. Daily hog slaughters have consistently made new records, partly because new pork processing plants in operation are buying animals to maintain market share and make good on meat orders, a trader said. Soon farmers may be faced with less money for their hogs as higher prices for them wear down packer profits, and retailers switch to promoting more beef following the conclusion of October National Pork month, a trader said. LIVE CATTLE SOFT BEFORE REPORT Nearby CME live cattle settled modestly lower, pressured by this week's less-than-expected cash prices and caution before the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly Cattle-On-Feed report on Friday, said traders. "The market was just biding time until Friday's report," said Oak Investment Group President Joe Ocrant. October live cattle, which will expire on Oct. 31, finished 0.275 cent per pound lower at 111.200 cents. Most actively-traded December closed down 0.500 cent to 116.150 cents. This week packers paid mostly $110 per cwt for cash cattle in the U.S. Plains that a week earlier moved at $111, said feedlot sources. Processors balked at paying more for supplies after two or three weeks of higher cash prices trimmed their margins, although those profits remain high historically, said analysts and traders. They said processors have ample supplies now, but those numbers could decline after some ranchers and feedlots moved animals to market ahead of schedule to avoid possibly lower prices in the weeks ahead. Buy stops and technical buying pulled up CME feeder cattle contracts. Feeder cattle futures' discounts to CME's feeder cattle index for Oct. 18 at 155.08 cents provided added market support. October ended up 0.625 cent per pound to 153.150 cents. (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by David Gregorio)

FILE PHOTO: People participate in an emergency exercise on prevention and...

New H7N9 bird flu strain in China has pandemic potential: study

Lab experiments on a new strain of the H7N9 bird flu circulating in China suggest the virus can transmit easily among animals and can cause lethal disease, raising alarm that the virus has the potential to trigger a global human pandemic, researchers reported on Thursday.

New H7N9 bird flu strain in China has pandemic potential-study

Lab experiments on a new strain of the H7N9 bird flu circulating in China suggest the virus can transmit easily among animals and can cause lethal disease, raising alarms that the virus has the potential for triggering a global human pandemic, researchers reported on Thursday.

UPDATE 1-Brazil court unfreezes $504 mln belonging to owners of meatpacker JBS

A Brazilian federal appeals court on Thursday granted an injunction releasing assets belonging to the Batista brothers, owners of the world's largest meatpacker JBS SA , Ticiano Figueiredo, a lawyer representing the defendants, said. A spokeswoman at the appeals court did not immediately reply to a request for comment. On Oct. 6, a federal judge blocked 1.6 billion reais ($504 million) belonging to 21 people and companies linked to J&F Investimentos, the holding company of the Batista family. . The asset freeze was meant to cover potential losses stemming from financial operations between the companies of the group and the development bank BNDES, which are being investigated. Prosecutors suspect irregularities regarding the approval and disbursement of loans worth billions of reais from the state-owned BNDES to the companies owned by the Batistas. State loans helped fuel growth at J&F Investimentos over the past decade, enabling it to expand beyond meatpacking into fashion, pulp processing and banking. JBS, of which BNDES is a shareholder through BNDESPar, denies it received favorable treatment from the state bank. On Wednesday, JBS shut down seven of 36 slaughterhouses in Brazil after a lower court froze 730 million reais in connection with a tax probe in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The meatpacker said the asset freeze brought "legal insecurity" to its operations in the state, adding the plants there would stay closed indefinitely. ($1 = 3.1738 reais) (Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)

Brazil court releases J&F, JBS owners' assets blocked in criminal probe

A Brazilian federal appeals court on Thursday granted an injunction releasing assets belonging to the Batista brothers, owners of the world's largest meatpacker JBS SA , said Ticiano Figueiredo, a lawyer representing the defendants. A spokeswoman at the appeals court did not immediately reply to a request for comment. On Oct. 6, a federal judge blocked 1.6 billion reais ($504 million) belonging to 21 people and companies linked to J&F Investimentos, the holding company of the Batista family. The asset freeze was meant to cover potential future losses stemming from financial operations between the companies of the group and the Brazilian state development bank BNDES, which are being investigated. ($1 = 3.1738 reais) (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)