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US hogs hit new lows - CME

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures firmed on Wednesday on expectations for higher US cash prices this week, as lean hog futures set contract lows, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Cash cattle were bid at about $168 per cwt in the southern Plains, roughly $1 higher than the bulk of trading last week, said Dennis Smith, commodity broker for Archer Financial Services. Meatpackers will need to pay more to strike deals, he said.

"If they want the cattle, they're going to have to bid higher than $168," Smith said, adding that prices may rise to $170 per cwt.

Meat processors slaughtered an estimated 123,000 cattle on Wednesday, down from 127,000 cattle a week ago and 124,000 cattle last year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

The agency reported boxed beef prices rose, while HedgersEdge.com said processors' margins climbed to $80.15 per head of cattle from $59.15 per head on Tuesday and $52.45 per head a week ago.

April live cattle finished 0.800 cent stronger at 168.400 cents per pound, and June live cattle ended up 0.075 cent at 160.300 cents per pound.

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