December 19, 2018 / 9:33 PM / 7 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Hogs, cattle end mixed ahead of USDA supply reports

    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle         and lean hog futures         ended mixed on
Wednesday as traders squared positions ahead of two key U.S.
government reports due on Thursday, traders said.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to release
its monthly cattle on feed report and its quarterly hogs and
pigs report at 2 p.m. CST (2000 GMT) on Thursday.
    The reports are expected to show higher on-feed cattle
supplies and lower placements, and a growing U.S. hog herd,
according to an average of analyst estimates gathered ahead of
the data.                          
    "The primary feature to the futures trade today was that we
were trading on both sides of the market ahead of the hogs and
pigs and the cattle on feed reports," said Mike Zuzolo,
president of Global Commodity Analytics.
    "There are questions about how big the hog herd is,
especially the kept-for-breeding number, with estimates of 103
or 104 percent. That's a surprise given that hog profitability
hasn't been all that great," he said.
    Declining cash hog prices have weighed on the futures market
as hogs in the closely followed Iowa and southern Minnesota
market traded $1.08 per cwt lower on Wednesday, declining for a
third straight day.         
    Weak pork prices also overshadowed lean hog futures. The hog
carcass cutout value fell by $2.23 per cwt on Wednesday,
according to USDA data. 
    The most active CME February hog futures contract        
ended up 0.050 cent at 62.700 cents per pound, closing near its
200-day moving average. Deferred contracts were up 0.225 cent to
down 0.400 cent.
    CME February live cattle         fell 0.325 cent and settled
at 122.250 cents per pound. Deferred contracts were mostly
firmer.
    Cash cattle markets in the U.S. Plains remained quiet, with
prices this week not expected to rise much above last week's
$118 to $119 per cwt sales.
    Feeder cattle futures were mostly lower, closing near
session lows as prices followed late-session declines in live
cattle. But weaker corn feed prices limited declines.
    CME January feeder cattle futures         ended unchanged at
146.200 cents while March futures         were down 0.025 cent
at 144.275 cents.

 (Reporting by Karl Plume
Editing by Leslie Adler)
  
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