LIVESTOCK-Live cattle climbs on strong consumer beef demand
By Christopher Walljasper
CHICAGO, April 6 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange climbed higher on Tuesday, supported by strong consumer beef demand and a firming cash beef market, analysts said.
"The demand for protein is strong," said Altin Kalo, economist at Steiner Consulting Group. It’s people getting ready for the spring and restaurants opening up and trying to refill the pipeline."
CME June live cattle settled 0.200 cent higher at 124.625 cents per pound after setting a contract high of 125.125 cents. May feeder cattle futures were unchanged at 151.775 cents.
Choice cuts of boxed beef added $4.10 to $262.77 per cwt, while select cuts gained $1.44 to $251.30 per cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U.S. daily cattle slaughter resumed an increased pace after slower processing Friday and Monday due to the Easter holiday, with 120,000 head slaughtered Tuesday, compared to 105,000 the day prior.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs inched higher, supported by strong cash prices and consumer demand.
CME June lean hogs settled 0.025 cent higher at 105.625 cents per pound.
The CME's lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, climbed to $100.10 per cwt, its highest since October 2014, though Kalo noted the rise in cash hogs has slowed.
"The cash market seems like it’s settled down – for a little while it seemed like it just kept going higher every single day," he said.
The number of hogs slaughtered also regained, with 492,000 hogs processed Tuesday, versus 325,000 on Monday, according to the USDA.
(Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Editing by Aurora Ellis)
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