January 13, 2018 / 12:25 AM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-CME hogs turn up on short covering, bargain buying

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean
hogs        finished higher on Friday after short covering and
bargain buying pared some of the market's recent losses tied to
fears about NAFTA negotiations, said traders.
    On Wednesday, Mexico said it would withdraw from the North
American Free Trade Agreement, following Canadian government
worries that the United States may exit the trade talks.
    Mexico is top the destination for U.S. pork while Canada is
ranked No. 4, according to industry data.
    February         hogs settled up 0.600 cent per pound at
71.575 cents. April         ended 0.500 cent higher lower at
74.325 cents.
    Uneasiness about near-term prices for slaughter-ready, or
cash, hogs limited market advances. 
    Processors are expected to pay less for hogs with some
plants closed on Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday,
while others focus on trying to stop declining profit, said
analysts and traders.         
    They said pork values rose on Friday led by sharply higher
costs to store pork bellies that will be taken out of warehouses
for use this spring and summer.
    Buy-stops and pre-weakened short covering lifted CME live
cattle futures, said traders.
    They said the return of wintry weather in the U.S. Plains
contributed to futures advances. Cold temperatures slow animal
weight gains and frozen precipitation makes it difficult to 
transport livestock to packing plants.
    February         live cattle finished up 0.300 cent per
pound at 117.375 cents. April         ended up 0.575 cent at
119.450 cents.
    Investors anxiously await next week's slaughter-ready, or
cash, cattle prices after packers paid less for supplies
    Since late last week, cash cattle in the U.S. Plains brought
 $118 to $120 per cwt versus $123 the week before.
    Bullish investors contend that higher packer profit bodes 
well for cash prices next week.        
    Market bears expect increased supplies and softer wholesale
beef values to pressure cash returns.           
    Buy-stops and higher live cattle futures boosted CME feeder
cattle contracts.
    January         feeder cattle closed 0.525 cent per pound
higher at 144.350 cents.

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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