December 7, 2018 / 11:00 PM / 2 days ago

LIVESTOCK-CME lean hogs rebound, market eyes U.S.-China trade talks

    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - U.S. lean hog futures closed out
the week on a positive note on Friday as hopes for a pickup in
pork sales to China fueled speculative buying that lifted prices
more than 1 percent and reversed the prior session's losses.
    The market remains focused on trade talks between the United
States and China after a 90-day trade war truce was reached last
weekend. That deal, according to the White House, included
promises by Beijing to "immediately" purchase U.S. agricultural
products, a list that is expected to include pork.
    U.S. President Donald Trump wrote in a tweet on Friday
morning that "China talks are going very well."
    China, the world's largest hog and pork market, has lost
large numbers of its domestic hog herd due to the highly
contagious African swine fever that has been found on more than
70 farms across the country.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange February lean hogs       
settled up 0.975 cent at 67.875 cents per pound and April hogs
       added 1.050 cent to 72.325 cents.
    Rising cash hog prices late this week and strong packer
margins also supported futures.
    Cash hogs in the closely watched Iowa and southern Minnesota
market were 80 cents per cwt higher on Friday and up $1.28 over
the past two days, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture
data.         
    The average packer margin on Friday swelled to $41.75 per
head, up from $30.85 a week earlier, according to livestock
marketing and advisory service HedgersEdge.        
    Live cattle futures closed mixed on Friday as the market
awaited cash cattle trading at U.S. Plains feedlot auctions.
    Cattle sellers were holding out for prices higher than last
week's $117 to $118 per cwt sales, although packer bids on
Friday afternoon remained around $116 against offers of $119 to
$120, traders said.
    Headwinds from concerns about a slowing economy possibly
blunting beef demand anchored live cattle prices in general.
Wall Street's main indexes fell sharply on Friday and posted
their largest weekly percentage drops since March.             
    CME February live cattle futures         settled down 0.275
cent at 121.525 cents per pound while April cattle         rose
0.150 cent to 123.625 cents.
    Feeder cattle futures were also mixed, with gains capped by
rising corn feed prices, which rose by about 2 percent this
week.
    January feeder cattle         settled up 0.175 cent at
144.375 cents while March feeders         ended down 0.075 cent
at 141.875 cents.

 (Reporting by Karl Plume
Editing by Tom Brown)
  
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