Livestock Futures Lose Momentum
By Benjamin Parkin
Cattle futures fell Thursday as traders waited for the week's cash trade to kick off.
October live-cattle futures fell 1.3% to $1.1235 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, easing after a week of gains.
Analysts said traders were reluctant to push futures higher until seeing whether prices in the cash market for slaughter-ready cattle also rose this week. The cash trade was slow to start as meatpackers and feedyards faced off over price direction, with no confirmed trade on Thursday morning.
Packers were mostly bidding $108 per 100 pounds live for cattle, market participants said, but feedyards were asking for anywhere from $110 to $113 and above. That prompted some packers to raise their bids, they said. At a closely watched online auction a day earlier, feedyards passed on bids of $110 to $110.75.
Wholesale beef prices were mixed, giving traders few incentives for further buying.
Hog futures, meanwhile, also eased after climbing earlier this week. CME October lean-hog contracts fell 0.9% to 60.7 cents a pound.
In a monthly supply and demand report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast higher beef and pork production in 2018 as herd sizes and slaughter numbers increase. The agency also expects red-meat exports to rise.
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