Cattle Futures Recover Losses Ahead of Holiday Break

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cattle futures touched a multimonth low before closing unchanged in a quiet session on Monday, as a continued slide in beef prices pressured prices.

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Live cattle futures for August delivery closed steady at $1.163 a pound after dropping to $1.15325 earlier in the session, the lowest point since early March.

Thin volume ahead of the July Fourth holiday limited price moves in Monday's "holiday market," said Jim Burns, a broker at Rosenthal Collins in Chicago, with reduced trading hours.

Grilling demand ahead of Independence the holiday hasn't been enough to prevent a sharp correction in beef prices, analysts say, with beef down around 11% since highs in mid-June. That has pressured cattle prices. Wholesale beef fell 1.16 cents to $2.2357 a pound on Monday.

Momentum from pork prices helped hog futures inch higher, however. Tight supplies of frozen pork bellies, used to make bacon, have sent prices upward. A pound of wholesale pork climbed 0.7 cent to $1.0326 a pound on Monday morning, while the cost of bellies approached $2 a pound.

That helped hog futures consolidate recent 2 1/2-year highs. CME July lean hog futures climbed 0.5% to 91.05 cents a pound.

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Concerns about hot weather also buttressed hog futures. Some forecasts show that the drought-like conditions stressing parts of the northern Plains could glide eastward. That could affect major hog-producing states like Iowa, meaning local swine eat less. That in turn would cap weight gains and tighten market-ready supply, Mr. Burns said.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 03, 2017 14:43 ET (18:43 GMT)