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CME update: live cattle futures close lower, retreating after this week’s earlier advances

14 May 2020

US live cattle futures closed lower on 13 May, falling after early advances on profit-taking and hopes of easing beef prices.

Reuters reports that bottlenecks of market-ready hogs and cattle caused by recent closures at meat-packing plants continue to hang over the futures markets.

"Even though slaughter has recovered some, we are still backing up a lot of market hogs," said Doug Houghton, analyst with Brock Associates.

"Ideas that the beef market is topping out ... weighed on cattle futures," Houghton said, noting that the USDA's afternoon cutout value for choice beef was down $9.40 at $465.99 per cwt, its first daily decline in more than a month.

CME June live cattle futures settled down 3.300 cents at 93.875 cents per pound, turning down after the contract climbed to 98.850 cents, its highest since 25 March. CME August feeder cattle settled down 2.675 cents at 133.075 cents.

"We've come a long ways off the lows in hogs and cattle (futures), and prices at the retail level have skyrocketed. We will have to see how the consumer reacts to these higher prices," said Jeff French, analyst with Top Third Ag Marketing.

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