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LIVESTOCK-Cattle hit 2-1/2-week highs, hogs gain on fund buying
April 11, 2017 / 8:32 PM / 8 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Cattle hit 2-1/2-week highs, hogs gain on fund buying

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, April 11 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures
        jumped to a 2-1/2 week peak on Tuesday while lean hogs
        were mostly higher on support from investment fund
buying linked to big gains in wholesale beef prices, traders and
analysts said.
    Most-active Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle
futures        gained for the fifth straight session, settling
up 1.400 cents at 113.700 cents per pound. April live cattle
       climbed 2.150 cents to 123.250 cents.
    Cattle prices surged at midday after the U.S. Department of
Agriculture showed choice-grade beef up $2.06 to $209.52 per
cwt. Gains in prices for the meat stoked optimism for more
aggressive buying in cash cattle markets in the U.S. Plains.
    News this week that U.S. trade negotiators were seeking to
hammer out deals to resume beef exports to China also provided a
bullish undercurrent to the cattle market, even if it could take
months for China to resume beef imports that have been
effectively halted since 2003.             
    "Buyers are stepping in," said independent livestock futures
trader Dan Norcini, adding that investors were exiting earlier
short positions as well as making new long bets.
    All contracts in the thinly traded CME feeder cattle futures
notched life-of-contract highs, with most-active May feeder
cattle        ending up 1.950 cents at 137.325 cents per pound,
near their earlier high of 137.700.
    Feeders were buoyed by gains in live cattle prices and by
demand for younger cattle to be raised on greening pastures.
Cash feeder prices were up $2 to $5 per cwt at a closely watched
auction in Oklahoma City on Monday, USDA data showed on Tuesday.
    CME June lean hog futures        climbed 0.725 cent to
74.000 cents per pound, rising in tandem with cattle. CME April
hogs        lost 0.675 cent to 62.650 cents as investors
continued to liquidate holdings in April ahead of the contract's
expiration on April 19.
    "It's pretty hard to keep hogs down if you have cattle
prices this strong," Norcini said. "When you look at (higher)
beef prices, pork is very cheap and guys are looking for a surge
in pork demand."
    USDA after the close of futures trading said wholesale pork
prices eased $1.53 to $75.17, led by a steep drop in pork belly

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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