December 15, 2017 / 9:56 PM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-Cash prices fuel higher CME live cattle futures

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures        on Friday closed up 2.3 percent, their
biggest one-day gain in over a month, after packers paid more
for livestock than expected, said traders.
    Buy stops, short-covering and fund buying accelerated
futures advances, they said.
    December         live cattle finished 2.625 cents per pound
higher at 118.900 cents, and above the 20-day moving average of
117.540 cents. February         ended 1.875 cents higher at
121.025 cents, and above the 100-day moving average of 119.355
    On Friday, packers in the U.S. Plains paid $118 to $120 per
cwt for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle that a week earlier
brought $115 to $118.
    Some processors needed cattle heading into their final week
of slaughters for the year prior to the Christmas and New Year's
holidays, said analysts and traders.
    There were fewer cattle for sale than last week, a trader
said. And some ranchers were current, or sent animals to market
earlier than they had planned, based on lighter cattle weights,
he said.
    Investors look ahead to next week's cash and futures trade,
with packers buying cattle for the Christmas holiday-shortened
workweek while beef demand continues to struggle seasonally.
    Participants will adjust positions before exiting the market
for holiday vacations, which could stir market volatility. 
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly Cattle-On-Feed
report is scheduled for release on Dec. 22 at 11:00 a.m. CST.
    Buy stops, short-covering and live cattle futures advances
also lifted CME feeder cattle        to its biggest daily
increase in over a month, up 1.2 percent.
    January         feeder cattle closed 1.500 cents per pound
higher at 147.750 cents.

    CME lean hogs settled higher, led by slight cash hog and
wholesale pork price increases, said traders.
    Modest fund buying and support from CME's cattle markets
helped lift the exchange's lean hog contracts, they said.
    February         closed 0.900 cent higher at 68.525 cents.
April         ended up 0.550 cent at 72.800 cents.
    Both trading months landed above their respective 10-day
moving average of 68.495 and 72.785 cents.
    Some processors bumped up cash hogs bids to maintain a
consistent flow of supplies for next week's production, a trader
    Grocers are buying pork sparingly until they determine how
much of it sold over the Christmas holiday, he said.         

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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