Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle rose for a fourth consecutive session on Monday, fueled by short-covering and futures' discounts to last week's cash prices, said traders.
Last weekend's news that China offered to lift its ban on U.S. beef helped spike Chicago Mercantile Exchange over 1% on Monday. But, futures have since slid from session highs on skepticism whether the Chinese will follow through on their offer.
"There was some initial futures market optimism regarding China. But now it's wait and see," said Brock Associates Inc. analyst Doug Houghton.
April live cattle closed 1.050 cents per pound higher at 121.100 cents, and June ended up 0.500 cent to 112.300 cents.
Last week, a small number of market-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains generally traded at $124 to $126 per cwt versus mostly $128 to $130 a week earlier.
Market participants again expect softer cash prices this week based on negative packer profits and seasonally slow wholesale beef demand.
There are plenty of cattle for packers that are planning closures over the Easter holiday. Less beef as a result of plant disruptions could help reverse the almost two-week wholesale beef price slide, said traders and analysts.
Monday afternoon's average wholesale beef price was up 24 cents per cwt to $207.46 from Friday. Select cuts dropped 89 cents to $196.60, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. CME feeder cattle landed in bullish territory for a third straight session, and back months hit new highs, led by strong cash feeder cattle prices and more live cattle futures gains.
April feeder cattle closed 1.550 cents per pound higher at 135.300 cents.