Traders Sour on Cattle as Selloff Continues

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cattle futures extended losses for a fourth-consecutive day, falling to fresh lows for the year.

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The cattle market has been under pressure recently from a slump in beef prices and growing supplies of cattle ready for slaughter.

Analysts say cattle futures have lost technical support by falling through a number of indicators. August-dated live cattle contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange dropped 1.1% to $1.0885 a pound on Thursday, down over 5% for the week and trading at the lowest point since December.

CME August feeder cattle futures fell 0.3% to $1.41175 a pound, the lowest close in almost three months.

The cash trade for cattle has also tracked lower this week. On Wednesday meatpackers paid $1.15 a pound live in southern states like Kansas and Texas, between $1.15 and $1.16 a pound live in Nebraska and $1.14 to $1.15 a pound live in Iowa. Dressed sales in Nebraska ranged from $1.85 to $1.83 a pound, falling as the day went on.

Some 70,000 head of cattle traded on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Analysts said, with futures at a discount to the cash market, feedyards were selling their market-ready herds before cash prices fell further.

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Wholesale beef prices have also dropped every day so far this week.

Analysts will be looking to Friday's Commitment of Traders report to see if money managers cut their net bets that live cattle futures will rise.

Hog futures were mixed. Front-month August contracts continued a recent correction higher, inching upward to catch up with the CME lean hog index, which tracks the cash market. CME August lean hog futures rose 0.4% to 84.45 cents a pound while the index fell to 85.62 cents a pound.

Later-month hog contracts fell. Cooler temperatures and cheaper corn could push hog weights higher than is seasonally normal, The Hightower Report said in a note to clients. That would increase supply and pressure prices in the months to come.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 10, 2017 15:41 ET (19:41 GMT)