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332271

LIVESTOCK-Lean hogs firm on cash strength

By Christopher Walljasper

CHICAGO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures firmed on Monday, supported by unseasonably strong cash hog prices and firm pork cutouts.

"The futures are well-discount to the cash," said Doug Houghton, technical analyst at Brock Capital Management. "The longer that gap stays there, the more likely it is that October and December would move toward the cash index."

CME August October lean hogs added 0.550 cents to 100.575 cents per pound.

The CME's Lean Hog Index, a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, last traded at $121.93 per hundredweight (CWT), up 7 cents and a 21.355-cents premium to October futures.

Wholesale pork prices firmed, with pork carcasses gaining $3.08 to $124.91 per cwt, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Live and feeder cattle eased, pressured by global demand uncertainty and trade positioning ahead of the USDA's monthly cattle on feed report, due Friday, August 19.

CME October live cattle futures settled 0.700 cent lower at 143.800 cents per lb, while CME September feeder cattle futures eased 0.375 cent to settle at 183.000 cents per lb.

Cash cattle traded steady across the U.S. plains, with the northern Plains trading between $144 and $148 per hundredweight (cwt), while the southern Plains traded at $140 per cwt, the USDA said.

"The cash tone seems like it could be steady to firmer this week," said Houghton.

Boxed beef prices firmed, with choice cuts adding $1.09 to $264.46 per cwt, while select cuts firmed 13 cents to $239.72 per cwt, the USDA said.

Beef slaughter remains strong, with 124,000 head of cattle processed on Monday, up from 119,000 a week ago, the USDA said. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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