January 11, 2019 / 11:20 PM / 10 days ago

LIVESTOCK-CME hog futures slip on weaker cash; live cattle mostly firm

    By Mark Weinraub
    CHICAGO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange
(CME) lean hog futures          closed lower on Friday,
following softening cash hog prices, traders said.
    CME February hog futures         settled down 1.425 cents at
62.650 cents per pound, halting a three-session advance.    
    Traders noted that hogs in the top cash market of Iowa and
southern Minnesota traded at an average price of $50.73 per cwt,
down from $51.10 a day earlier, according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture.         
    "The (futures) market is still carrying a premium to cash.
Today and yesterday, we (had) a little bit of a lower cash
market. So some of that bullish enthusiasm got sucked out," said
Top Third Ag Marketing analyst Craig VanDyke.
    CME live cattle futures          traded mostly higher on
technical buying and anticipation of higher cash cattle trade
compared to a week ago, brokers said. 
    After the close, cash cattle traded in Kansas and Nebraska
at $124 per cwt, up $1 from last week.             
    Packers and cattle feeders were still in a stand-off at the
closing bell, a factor that seemed to favor the feedyards,
VanDyke said.
    "To me, that says maybe the yards have a little bit of
leverage. So they could, at a minimum, be looking at steady cash
trade," he said.
    CME February live cattle         settled 0.100 cent higher
at 124.975 cents per pound, after notching a contract high at
125.650 cents.
    However, CME March feeder cattle         fell 0.175 cent at
144.900 cents per pound. The thinly traded January contract
        also declined, closing down 0.625 cent at 146.125 cents
per pound.
    Trading volume in cattle futures was heavy this week due in
part to commodity index funds rebalancing their portfolios, an
annual five-session process that began Jan. 8. 
    Traders had expected that the funds would sell roughly 7,000
live cattle futures and 6,000 lean hog futures over the course
of the rebalance, and buy about 1,000 feeder cattle futures.

 (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen
Editing by James Dalgleish)
  
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