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LIVESTOCK-Live cattle rise on technicals, seasonally tighter supply

Karl Plume

CHICAGO, June 26 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures firmed on Wednesday, lifted by technical and seasonal buying and as warmer weather around the country fueled hopes that beef demand for outdoor grilling would rise.

Actively traded CME August live cattle ended up 2.125 cents at 105.375 cents per pound. Spot June futures, which expire at the end of the week, were up 1.250 cents at 109.000 cents per pound, reflecting market expectations for cash cattle prices this week.

"From the end of June to early August last year, there was about a $7 rise in cash cattle prices based on a small seasonal decline in supply offered as we go through July," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.

"Maybe we're about done with this big downtrend, at least for a few weeks."

Packer bids at feedlot markets were around $107 per cwt against offers around $112 or more, with sales expected somewhere in the middle, traders said. Packers will be buying for a holiday-shortened slaughter week next week.

Feeder cattle futures were also higher, with the spot August contract up its 4.5-cent daily trading limit in a technical-buying and short-covering bounce from a near 15-month low struck earlier this week.

Feeders also drew some support from a downturn in corn prices, which slipped on Wednesday on improving U.S. Midwest crop weather following an overly rainy and cold spring.

CME August feeder cattle surged 4.5 cents to 135.825 cents per pound. The 3.4% jump was the strongest for a front-month contract in a month.

Lean hog futures declined for the fourth time in five sessions, pressured by ample supplies of hogs and pork and concerns that a Chinese ban on Canadian meat imports would increase competition for U.S. pork in other markets.

China said on Tuesday it wants the Canadian government to temporarily stop allowing meat shipments to China after bogus pork export certificates were discovered.

Traders squared positions ahead of the U.S. Agriculture Department's quarterly hog inventory report on Thursday, which analysts expect will show a continued herd expansion.

The market is also bracing for any trade surprises from the upcoming G20 summit, when U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with China's Xi Jinping to try to resolve a year-long trade war between the world's top two economies.

CME July lean hogs fell 0.850 cent to 73.550 cents per pound while actively traded August dropped 0.700 cent to 75.475 cents per pound. (Reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by Richard Chang)