Higher Cattle Prices Bolster Futures

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cattle futures rose on Monday after an uptick in cash prices late last week.

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Meatpackers paid an average of $109.42 per 100 pounds live and $172.47 dressed for slaughter-ready cattle last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. That was higher than the previous week, with prices rising above $110 live in some western states.

Higher cash prices helped the futures market start this week with a boost, analysts said, a sign that demand for beef and healthy margins would encourage packers to raise bids in order to secure supply of slaughter-ready cattle.

The USDA reported last week that beef exports in August rose nearly 15% from a year earlier, which analysts said was further evidence of strong demand.

October live cattle futures rose 0.4% to $1.11425 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Hog futures were mixed. Underwhelming August pork exports pressured the market. Analysts said higher exports are needed to absorb increased production from a series of new slaughter houses.

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"Current demand is good but not good enough to drive product higher," said Dennis Smith of Archer Financial Services, referring to wholesale pork.

Market participants expected cash prices for hogs to continue trending higher in the near term, however, as the added slaughter capacity increased competition among packers to secure supply.

CME October lean hog futures fell 0.3% to 59.025 cents a pound. December contracts were little changed at 60.95 cents.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 09, 2017 15:25 ET (19:25 GMT)