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LIVESTOCK-Live cattle end mostly higher on improved consumption forecast

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures ended mostly firmer on Wednesday as wholesale beef prices stabilized after a recent slide and as a monthly government report helped to temper concerns about waning consumption.

Gains were capped by eroding beef packer margins, although cattle demand is likely to remain high this week amid an active daily slaughter pace, traders said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated the week's cattle slaughter, through Wednesday, at 384,000 head, up from 356,000 in the same period last year.

The choice boxed beef cutout slipped to $246.66 per cwt on Wednesday, down 9 cents from the prior day but up from an 18-month low of $243.75 at the end of September.

The USDA updated its supply and demand forecasts in a monthly report on Wednesday, raising beef production and exports this year and next year. The agency also increased its per- capita beef consumption outlook by 0.2 pound for 2022 and by 0.3 pound for 2023.

The USDA also raised its pork consumption estimates.

"The per-capita consumption domestically remains really high and that helped the consumer mindset. We'd had consumption fears with the stock market down and crude oil prices up. The USDA report alleviated some of those fears," said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.

CME October live cattle ended the day up 0.375 cent at 146.175 cents per lb and the most-active December contract settled down 0.125 cent at 148.450 cents. Deferred contracts were up 0.125 to 0.550 cents.

CME November feeder cattle settled up 0.475 cent at 176.675 cents per lb.

CME October lean hog futures gained 0.075 cent to settle at 93.100 cents per lb, while the actively traded December contract gained 1.175 cents to settle at 80.700 cents per lb. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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