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Hog futures up on oversold signals

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were higher ahead of the week’s widespread direct cash cattle business. The higher midday move for beef was a positive and feeders picked up additional support from the lower move in corn. February live was up $1.32 at $159.75 and April was $1.60 higher at $163.82.

Direct cash cattle markets were nearly at a standstill. The USDA reported very light trade at $154 on the live basis and $248 dressed, not enough to establish a trend. Asking prices were $158 to $160 on the live basis in the south and $252+ dressed. Bids remained hard to come by and unless there was a significant amount of late trade Thursday, the bulk of the week’s business will wait until Friday. Beef export sales of 25,200 tons were up modestly on the week, primarily to South Korea, Japan, and China.

Boxed beef closed firm to higher with strong movement. Choice was up $.03 at $265.10 and Select beef was $.88 higher at $256.33 for a spread of $11.44. The estimated cattle slaughter of 125,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 11,000 on the year.

At the Winter Livestock feeder cattle sale in Kansas, compared to the previous week, there weren’t enough 400 to 950 pound steers and heifers for a test, but there was a higher undertone. The USDA says demand was good, with receipts down on the week and the year. 66% of the feeder offering were steers and 83% of the total feeder run weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds were reported at $188 to $201 and 800 to 900 pound steers sold at $171 to $179. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 600 to 700 pounds brought $165 to $185 and 700-to-750-pound heifers ranged from $169 to $174.

Lean hog futures were higher on oversold signals, along with the cash and wholesale business during the session. February was up $1.37 at $75.35 and April was $1.70 higher at $86.

Cash hogs were mixed, mostly steady to modestly higher, with moderate closing negotiated numbers at the major direct markets. It looks like business had one more round of mostly higher trade this week as buyers worked to secure their near-term needs. Pork exports of 30,900 tons were down on the week, mainly to Mexico, with smaller amounts to Japan and Canada and no sales to China.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $.10 lower with a base price range of $67 to $77 for a weighted average of $72.93, while Iowa/Southern Minnesota was $.80 higher at $75.04 and the Western Corn Belt was up $.75 at $74.83. Midwest butcher hog markets were steady at $60 in Dorchester, Wisconsin, $66 in Garnavillo, Iowa, and $52 in Red Oak, Iowa. Illinois direct sows were steady at $30 to $42 on moderate demand and offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $54 to $64, also with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $10 to $20.

Pork closed $2.55 higher at $81.50. Butts, picnics, hams, and bellies were firm to sharply higher, including a $13.45 gain in bellies, while loins were weak and ribs were sharply lower. The estimated hog slaughter of 490,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 79,000 on the year.

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