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LIVESTOCK-Cattle ease 2 pct in technical selloff; hog prices mixed
May 15, 2017 / 8:43 PM / 7 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Cattle ease 2 pct in technical selloff; hog prices mixed

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, May 15 (Reuters) - U.S. cattle futures eased on
Monday, with live cattle         shedding 2 percent and feeders
        dropping for the fourth time in the last five sessions
in a technical selloff, traders and analysts said.
    Investors continued to take profits on long positions as
cattle declined from their more than one-year highs on May 4.
Expectations that wholesale beef prices were nearing a seasonal
peak has weighed on futures and cash cattle in the last week.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said choice-grade beef
was up $1.71 to $249.40 per cwt, the highest in about 22 months.
Rising retailer demand for meat ahead of the U.S. Memorial Day
on May 29 - the unofficial start of summer outdoor grilling
season - has buoyed beef prices for more than a month.
    "The bottom line is that trade is obviously questioning the
length of time cash beef can hold up at current prices,"
Allendale analyst Rich Nelson said.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle        finished
down 2.725 cents at 122.450 cents per pound, settling at the
lowest levels since April 28. August live cattle        nearly
fell by their 3.000-cent daily price limit, settling 2.975 cents
lower at 118.800.
    CME August feeder cattle        declined 2.550 cents to
149.275 cents per pound.
    There were fears that cash cattle could fetch lower prices
for the second straight week at U.S. Plains feedlots, in what
could signal a seasonal top in cattle markets.
    But China on Friday said it could start importing U.S. beef
by mid-July for the first time since 2003, boosting futures.
"Commodity markets have been known to live or die by the word
'China,'" INTL FCStone said in a client note.
    Lean hog futures         were narrowly mixed in
bear-spreading, with nearby contracts declining and deferred
months rising slightly. Most-active June hogs        settled
0.700 cent lower at 77.250 cents per pound and July        ended
down 0.250 cent at 78.350.
    Cash hog prices in the top market of Iowa and southern
Minnesota were up 60 cents at $69.94 per cwt, the USDA said
after the closing of futures trading. Wholesale pork gained 68
cents to $83.97 per cwt.                  

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Jonathan

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