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LIVESTOCK-CME lean hogs slip; USDA has surprise jump in July cattle placements

By P.J. Huffstutter

CHICAGO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures slipped on Friday, with the most-active contract dipping to a nearly six-week low during the session, as weak export demand continued to weigh on futures, analysts said.

Meanwhile, a government report, released after the CME closed, said that far more cattle were marketed in July than traders had expected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 1.77 million head of cattle were placed in feedlots during July, up 2% from a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average had expected 1.713 million head.

The USDA also reported the total number of cattle on feed as of Aug. 1 at 11.2 million head, up from a year ago and above expectations. July marketings of 1.83 million head, down 4% from a year ago, were in line with expectations.

Live cattle futures inched up on technical trading, as speculators raised their net corn long positions, analysts said.

CME October live cattle futures settled up 0.500 cent to 145.250 cents per lb., while CME September feeder cattle futures fell 0.525 cent to 184.750 cents per lb.

In hogs, traders are waiting for lean hog future prices to slip, as the basis spread between cash contracts and hog futures remains wide, said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

On Friday, CME August October lean hogs fell 0.175 cent to 93.125 cents per pound.

Prices typically ease as grilling season wraps up and animal weights begin to increase as the weather starts to cool, Roose said.

That means the industry is expecting to see supplies increase, even as USDA reported this week that pork exports during the week ended Aug. 11 were down 43% from the prior 4-week average.

"When we start going into harvest and there's this fresh supply of corn, the hogs are more interested in eating that," Roose said. (Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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