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CME: Futures Close Mixed, Far Months Steady to Higher, Thursday

01 February 2013

US - Live cattle futures enjoyed gains for most of the day, but profit-taking picked up late in the session and futures ended narrowly mixed with the February through June contracts 12 1/2 to 37 1/2 cents lower and far-deferred months steady to slightly higher, write market analysts at CME group.

This was at or near session lows for nearby contracts and around mid-range for deferred contracts.

Cattle futures saw choppy to higher trade early today and was trading slightly higher on the day into the mid-session, according to Profarmer.

A weaker tone to the stock market and sluggish beef prices were factors which might have helped pull the market off of the early highs.

There is a general positive tone for cash markets ahead in spite of excellent feedlot weather in the forecast for the next ten days and a lack of signs of a pick-up in consumer demand. Ideas that Friday's Cattle Inventory report will carry a bullish tilt added to the positive tone.

Traders see the cattle inventory on January 1st near 1.8 per cent lower than last year for the Inventory report on Friday.

This would be the 6th year in a row of lower inventory and the lowest inventory since 1952. Weekly U.S. beef export sales for the week ending January 24 came in at 12,000 metric tonnes, compared with the prior 4-week average of 33,525.

Cumulative sales for 2013 have reached 146,500 metric tonnes, up 10.2 per cent from last year's pace. Boxed-beef cut-out values at mid-session came in at $185.52, down $1.24 from yesterday and down from $188.01 last week. Select beef was down 56 cents to $180.46.

Slaughter for today came in well below trade expectations at just 119,000 head. This was the second day in a row and the news suggests that packers are cutting back on slaughter in hopes of supporting the beef.

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