CHICAGO — Live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange slipped on Tuesday, pressured by softening wholesale beef prices and a lack of bullish news, traders said.
Cash cattle trade was quiet, leaving some traders to focus on beef prices. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) priced choice cuts of beef on Tuesday afternoon at $299.47 per hundredweight (cwt), down $2.51 from Monday, while select cuts fell 36 cents to $284.35 per cwt.
“We are seeing the cutouts slowly start to lose ground here. That takes away some of the bullish momentum,” said Altin Kalo, Steiner Consulting Group economist.
CME June live cattle futures settled down 0.450 cent at 163.875 cents per pound, and most-active August futures ended down 0.275 cent at 162.475 cents.
CME August feeder cattle settled up 0.425 cent at 231.475 cents per pound.
Hog futures closed firmer in nearby contracts, while back months drifted lower.
CME June lean hog futures settled up 1.050 cents at 87.200 cents per pound, with the July contract up 0.625 cents at 88.125 cents.
The CME lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, rose by 59 cents to $76.50 per cwt.
The USDA priced the carcass cutout late Tuesday at $83.75 per cwt, down 63 cents from Monday.
“To me, it was more money flow rather than anything fundamental that drove the market today in hogs,” Kalo said, adding that hog traders were waiting to see pork prices rise.
“In order to establish some sort of bullish momentum in hogs, you do need to see some sustained improvement in the cutout. And we have not seen that yet.” (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)