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LIVESTOCK-U.S. live cattle futures fall 2.5% on long liquidation

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, May 13 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures fell 2.5% on Thursday, following broad declines in grain and livestock markets that analysts attributed to fund-driven long liquidation and technical selling after recent highs.

"It seems it was a risk-off day all across the board ... It was more of a technical move and just money flow, taking some risk off the table," said Altin Kalo, economist at Steiner Consulting Group.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle futures settled down 3 cents at 115.600 cents per pound while August ended down 2.925 cents at 119.400 cents.

Firm wholesale beef prices underpinned the market. Choice cuts were up $1.70 on Thursday to $316.78 per hundredweight (cwt), the highest in nearly a year, while select cuts fell $1.25 to $295.91 per cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We are two weeks before Memorial Day, and beef in the market is extremely tight. Some of these price levels are not sustainable in the long term. But in the short term, (retailers) cannot afford to go without, going into the biggest beef consumption holiday of the year," Kalo said.

CME feeder cattle futures closed modestly lower, with losses limited by a plunge in Chicago Board of Trade corn futures that tempered worries about the cost of feed. August feeders settled down 0.025 cent at 150.500 cents per pound.

CME lean hog futures fell on technical selling and lackluster weekly pork export sales. The USDA reported U.S. pork sales in the week to May 6 at 14,745 tonnes, a three-week low. China booked 3,048 tonnes and shipped 12,344 tonnes.

CME June hog futures settled down 1.925 cents at 110.100 cents per pound.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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