CME hogs, feeder cattle slide on technical trading, higher grains

Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs and feeder cattle futures fell on Thursday on a flurry of technical trading, as feed prices rebounded and investors scrambled to find stable footing amid continued volatility in the commodity markets.

Live cattle inched up, while cash cattle saw limited action in the Southern Plains, with some sales coming in at a lower-than-expected $138 per cwt, traders said.

Broad-based money flowed into agricultural commodity markets, firming soybeans after four straight days of declines, while U.S. weekly corn export sales were well above market expectations.

“Most of these commodities also have a solid story,” Arlan Suderman, StoneX chief commodities economist, said in a client note.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Agriculture Department reported Thursday that beef export sales totaled 19,700 tonnes for the week ended March 10, down from 27,500 tonnes a week earlier – with China accounting for about one-third of the beef shipments.

Analysts are closely tracking how the coronavirus Omicron variant outbreak in China is affecting its ports. With millions of people under lockdown, China has imposed some of the toughest measures in the financial center of Shanghai – home to the world’s busiest container port.

CME’s most-active June live cattle rose 0.400 cent to 135.925 cents per lb, while April feeder cattle fell 1.525 cents to 162.100 cents.

USDA also reported that pork export sales were at 38,300 tonnes, up 51% from the previous week and up 36% from the prior four-week average.

“Hogs are so overvalued right now. But it doesn’t mean anything if you have buyers showing up, and really, we just keep seeing money coming into this market,” said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst at Agrivisor.

CME April lean hog futures fell 2.025 cents to end at 100.350 cents per pound. June hogs fell 3.500 cents to finish at 116.975 cents per pound.