Livestock Futures End Week With Losses

Cattle futures fell for the third consecutive day as lower red meat prices pressured the market.

Most-active live cattle futures for October delivery fell 0.3% to $1.059 a pound on Friday at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Wholesale beef prices have traded below $2 a pound for the first time in months as of late last week. A pound of beef fell 1.88 cents to $1.9563 a pound on Thursday, and slid further as of midday Friday.

The falling cost of beef has had a ripple effect on the broader market, cutting into packer margins, which in turn has lowered cash-market prices and weighed down futures.

Packer margins for the week were at $63 a head, according to the HedgersEdge index. That was the lowest since mid-May.

Meatpackers, in turn, lowered their bids for cattle in the week's cash trade with feedlots. They bought a little over 70,000 cattle on Thursday for an average of $1.10 a pound live and $1.75 a pound dressed. That was mostly 5 cents a pound below last week on a live basis, cutting into feedlot's profitability.

Hog futures, meanwhile, also fell. CME October lean hog futures dropped 1.2% to 66.125 cents a pound, trading at a three-month low.

Analysts say hog futures are under pressure after losing technical support. The correction started with a sharp drop in pork belly prices earlier this week.

A pound of pork belly meat fell to $1.8141 on Thursday. That prompted selling at the opening on Friday, though meat prices had turned higher as of midday.

An agreement between American and Argentine officials to re-open the South American country to U.S. exports after over two decades, announced by the White House on Thursday, had limited impact on prices.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 18, 2017 15:22 ET (19:22 GMT)