Cattle Futures Steady After Cash Weakness

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cattle futures ended the week steady to lower, stabilizing after a week of selling.

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December-dated live-cattle futures were little changed, at $1.15575 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while February contracts fell. Prices had previously fallen through the week.

Cash prices for physical cattle also fell over the course of the week, adding to pressure on the futures market.

"Live cattle futures are consolidating following recent losses," said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone Inc. in a note to clients. "Lower [cash] prices are expected next week as we approach the holiday period and demand for beef product softens seasonally."

The bulk of the week's cash trade took place ahead of Friday's session. Meatpackers paid an average of $117 per 100 pounds live on Thursday, with prices falling as low as $115 and $116. That was down several dollars from a week ago.

Beef prices have stagnated, with retailers easing off purchases ahead of the approaching holiday period. Wholesale beef rose rise 47 cents, to $205.55 per 100 pounds, as of midday Friday, following sharp losses on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Hog futures rose, ending four consecutive days of lower prices. CME December lean hog contracts climbed 0.2%, to 63.675 cents a pound.

Wholesale pork prices rose $1.38, to $84.56 per 100 pounds, as of midday Friday, on track to end the week higher.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 08, 2017 15:17 ET (20:17 GMT)