Cattle Futures Turn Higher Despite Meatpackers Lowering Bids

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cattle futures rebounded Wednesday despite falling prices for physical cattle.

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Meatpackers lowered their bids for slaughter-ready cattle in Tuesday's and Wednesday's cash markets. They paid between $119 and $119.25 per 100 pounds in the closely watched online Fed Cattle Exchange auction, down from $124 last week.

Packers also paid $119 for cattle in the broader cash trade, mostly in southern states, down several dollars from a week earlier.

Analysts said futures traders eased off selling Wednesday after cattle contracts fell over 7% from early November. December live cattle futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rose 0.6% to $1.202 a pound.

Troy Vetterkind of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage said futures could likely hold around current levels if cash prices remain steady through the week, "but suffice it to say people are going to be willing sellers on any kind of $1-$2 rally."

Traders expect current supplies of slaughter-ready cattle to grow, however, with cheap feed costs allowing producers to fatten larger herds. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect a government report due Friday to show the total number of cattle on-feed as of Nov. 1 to rise 5.7% from a year earlier, with cattle placed in feedlots in October rising 7.6%.

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Hog futures were mixed.

The front-month December lean hog contract ended a streak of 10 consecutive days of losses by rising 1.9% to 61.125 cents a pound. Prices for later months mostly fell.

Falling cash prices for hogs through much of November have dragged futures market lower.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 15, 2017 15:45 ET (20:45 GMT)