LIVESTOCK CME live cattle futures were mixed on uncertain consumer demand

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INDIANAPOLIS, June 16 (Reuters) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange livestock futures were mixed on Thursday, with contracts strengthening nearby while the most active livestock futures fell on inflation concerns, despite markets across much of the U.S continue to be supported by tight livestock supply levels, analysts said.

“The weakness comes from the uncertainty of the economy — how well is the consumer holding up and what is the future of demand,” said Scott Varilek, broker at Kooima, Kooima, Varilek Trading Inc.

Wholesale beef prices fell for the fourth straight day, with select cuts down $1.06 to $267.16 per zwt and select cuts down 30 cents to $245.38, according to US Department of Agriculture data.

On the CME, live cattle settled 0.200 cents to 137.750 cents a pound in June, while the most active contract fell 0.500 cents to 136.300 cents a pound in August.

CME August feeder cattle lost 1,975 cents to settle at 171,300 cents per pound.

Despite slacking consumer demand, Varilek said packers are actively pulling cattle forward to keep slaughter lines going, which supports futures and cash cattle, which the USDA says are trading above $145 a hundredweight in the northern US Plains, while cattle from the Southern Plains are brought $140 a hundredweight.

The pace of beef slaughter so far this week was 495,000 heads ahead of the same week last year, but fell short of last week’s pace of 503,000 heads.

Hog futures were supported as the supply of market-ready hogs continues to struggle, Varilek said.

July CME lean hog futures rose 1.300 cents to 109.575 cents a pound, while the most active August hog futures added 1.700 cents to 106.025 cents a pound.

The CME Lean Hog ​​Index, a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, firmed 44 cents to $108.57 per cwt.

Strong export sales provided additional support as US exporters sold 27,600 tons of pork in the week ended June 9, up 65% from the previous week and up 1% from the previous 4-week average, the USDA said. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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