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Fed Cattle Up $5 Last Week as Wholesale Beef Lifts

07 March 2013

US - Fed and wholesale prices lifted last week and analysts wait to see whether this push will be carried forward.

Fed cattle prices were higher last week – sharply higher, even. The 5-area weighted average live steer prices added very close to $5 compared to the prior week, write John. Anderson, Tim Petry, John Michael Riley and Glyn Tonsor.

Wholesale beef prices showed a bit of life as well, with the weekly Choice cutout gaining nearly $3. The wholesale market actually looked strongest at the end of the week, with the Choice cutout advancing close to $2 from Thursday to Friday.

It will be interesting to see how much of last week’s strength carries forward. Clearly, there were some short-run issues on the front-burner last week that may have added a substantial risk premium in the market.

First, of course, the sequester deadline and the highly-publicized threat of meat inspection interruptions added to the perception, if not the reality, of heightened short-run risks of supply disruptions in the market.

Second, last week was to some degree a weather-driven market, with severe winter weather disrupting the normal flow of business over much of the country last week.

Calf markets were also influenced by last week’s storms – to the point that week-over-week comparisons probably don’t mean a whole lot. hrough the middle of the country, quite a few sales were cancelled or greatly curtailed; and in the rest of the country, buyer interest was diminished by the disruption in cattle shipping caused by the weather.


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