LIVESTOCK-Profit-taking hits U.S. live cattle futures

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures weakened on Monday on profit-taking and as the market pulled back from a one-year high reached last week, traders said.

Strong demand for beef has supported cattle futures recently, and beef prices continue to rise.

Choice cuts advanced $1.82 to $235.77 per cwt and select cuts climbed $2.98 to $225.69, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Demand for beef is just unbelievable," said Dennis Smith, commodity broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago. "There's a big export push going on."

Chicago Mercantile Exchange April live cattle settled down 0.150 cent at 121.700 cents per pound. On Friday, the contract reached 123.900 cents, its highest price since January 2020. For the month of January 2021, the contract rose 2.600 cents, or 2.2%, inviting profit-taking by speculators.

Traders said they expected cash cattle prices to rise this week. Last week, market-ready cattle traded in the cash market as high as $113 per cwt, traders said, up $3 from the bulk of the previous week.

Feeder cattle futures closed higher after falling to their lowest price since Jan. 21. CME March feeder cattle finished up 0.200 cent at 137.925 cents per pound.

In the pork market, CME April lean hog futures settled down 1.150 cents at 75.500 cents per pound, after setting a life-of-contract high of 77.600 cents last Tuesday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed an executive order mandating price ceilings for pork and chicken in the capital region, as costlier meat has propelled food inflation to a double-digit level. (Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Richard Chang)

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