January 23, 2018 / 9:20 PM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-Beef quotes send CME live cattle futures higher

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures        on Tuesday gained after triggering buy
stops, spurred by the morning's wholesale beef price rebound,
traders said.
    Firmer wholesale beef values stirred bull spreads, in which 
traders bought February futures and simultaneously sold deferred
    February         live cattle finished 1.175 cents per pound
higher at 124.725 cents. April         ended up 0.825 cent at
124.800 cents.
    Retailers scrambled to fill beef inventories after a recent
winter storm in parts of the U.S. Plains shut down at least two
packing plants on Monday, said analysts and traders. Those
plants appeared to be running normally today, they said.
    As warmer temperatures melt snow, cattle may not gain weight
as quickly while exerting energy while moving around muddy
feedlots, a trader said.
    Some investors expect packers to pay about the same for
cattle as last week given current futures prices, fewer animals
for sale this week and tight supplies in parts of the Plains.
    Processors last week paid mostly $123 per cwt for
slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle in the Plains.
    Participants await Wednesday's Fed Cattle Exchange sale of 
almost 500 animals. A handful of cattle there a week ago fetched
$119.75 per cwt.
    Investors await the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA)
monthly Cattle-On-Feed report on Friday.             
    USDA's monthly cold storage report will be released on
Wednesday. It was delayed by one day due to the U.S. government
    Wednesday's cold storage data will include total beef and
pork inventories for December.
    A survey of analysts, on average, projected last month's
total beef stocks at 504.3 million pounds and 490.2 million for
    Live cattle futures' advances and steady to higher cash
feeder cattle prices lifted CME feeder cattle contracts, said
    January         feeder cattle, which will expire on
Thursday, closed up 0.725 cent per pound at 148.625 cents. Most
actively traded March         ended 1.150 cents higher at
146.975 cents.
    CME lean hogs settled mostly lower after some investors
implemented bull spreads, guided by higher wholesale pork prices
due to weather-related plant disruptions, said traders.         
    Near-term cash prices may soften after drifting snow and icy
roads in the Western Corn Belt forced farmers to keep hogs on
farms, which created a backlog of supplies.         
    February         hogs settled up 0.450 cent per pound at
72.250 cents. April         ended 0.475 cent lower at 74.650
cents, and May         finished down 0.250 cent to 79.400 cents.

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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