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Beef demand drives up US live cattle futures

imageCHICAGO: Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures rose on Monday driven in part by a five-year high in weekly US beef exports, traders and analysts said.

The turnaround in wholesale beef values on Monday also contributed to futures' gains, they said.

US Department of Agriculture on Monday reported last week's beef exports at roughly 27,000 tonnes, eclipsing the previous high of around 21,100 tonnes during the first week of February 2013. Monday's beef exports were the most since USDA began issuing the report in 2008.

Separate government data showed the wholesale price of choice beef on Monday morning at $201.33 per cwt. That was up $1.80 from Friday but down $1.76 from a week ago.

"Apparently the recent (lower) beef price levels have attracted some export interest," Livestock Marketing Information Center director Jim Robb said.

Monday's higher beef cutout which reflected the stronger-than-expected beef exports, he said.

Investors attributed some of futures' abrupt mid-morning upswing to buy stops. Also, subsequent advances lifted August past 10-day and 20-day moving averages of 119.310 and 119.404, respectively, which triggered fund buying.

Still, uncertainty about cash cattle prices and near-term wholesale beef demand pulled futures down from morning highs.

There was nothing fundamental to justify futures going lower and no reason to push the market higher given seasonally weak beef prices, said Don Roose, analyst at US Commodities.

CME live cattle June finished at 119.825 cents, up 0.825 cent per lb, and August at 119.250 cents, up 0.925 cent.

Feeder cattle futures were pulled higher CME live cattle and fund buying.

August feeder cattle closed at 144.525 cents, 1.125 cents per lb higher. September settled at 147.000 cents, up 0.775 cent.

Copyright Reuters, 2013


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