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LIVESTOCK-Cattle futures firm; hogs weak despite big pork exports

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. cattle futures rose to a two-week high on Thursday, their second straight day of gains, on technical buying, traders said.

Hog futures were weaker despite signs of strong pork exports and firm demand from China.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) February live cattle futures settled up 0.675 cent at 114.45 cents per pound. Technical support for the contract was noted at its 100-day moving average.

January feeder cattle rose 0.1 cent to 140.95 cents per pound.

The choice boxed beef cutout rose $2.29 to $209.51 per cwt on Thursday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Select cuts rose $1.61 to $193.70 per cwt.

CME February lean hogs fell 0.475 cent to settle at 65.5 cents per pound.

The USDA on Thursday morning reported that export sales of beef totaled 14,600 tonnes in the week ended Dec. 10 compared to 15,000 tonnes a week earlier.

Weekly pork export sales rose to 84,200 tonnes from 32,900 tonnes. The weekly total was the biggest since November 2019.

China accounted for 37,700 tonnes, including 26,100 tonnes booked for the next marketing year. The total was the biggest to China since the end of April. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub in Chicago; Editing by Will Dunham)

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