CHICAGO — Live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) climbed for a fourth straight session on Monday, with front-month contract hitting a fresh 4-1/2-year high on strong demand.

Lean hog futures also firmed, supported by good demand.

Lighter-than-normal trading volumes aided livestock futures’ advance on Monday, with little selling pressure ahead of this week’s U.S. Thanksgiving holiday allowing markets to hold their gains.

Meat demand remains robust in both domestic and export markets as more consumers are returning to restaurants and resuming travel.

Supply chain disruptions, from understaffed U.S. packing plants to export restrictions on Brazilian beef following a case of mad cow disease, further supported markets. Mexico has been a strong buyer of U.S. pork and U.S. beef sales to China are surging as global supplies tighten.

“The United States just continues to ship pork and, especially, beef overseas … The demand side is definitely there,” said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst with Agrivisor.

“When you’ve got low volume mixed with a little bit of bullish news and it’s a holiday week, it’s a lot easier to push the market around.”

CME’s most-active February live cattle contract gained 1.275 cents to end at 138.975 cents per pound. The spot December contract rose 0.900 cent to 134.425 cents per pound.

CME January feeder cattle futures rose 0.775 cent to 161.700 cents per pound.

A monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture cattle-on-feed report, released after the close on Friday, had minimal impact on Monday’s trade as supply, placement and marketing estimates were very close to market expectations.

CME December lean hogs settled up 0.900 cent at 74.650 cents per pound while February hogs added 0.550 cent to close at 83.025 cents.