Cattle Futures - Live Cattle Weaker; Cash, Report Watch

US - The Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle complex closed weaker on anticipation for the bulk of this week's cash trade, downward spiraling beef cutouts and generally firmer Chicago Board of Trade corn contracts. Cattle complex traders also anxiously await the federal government's monthly cattle report Friday at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).
calendar icon 20 April 2007
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Meanwhile, CME lean hogs and pork bellies settled higher.

Follow-through selling, lack of clear direction and market participants elbowing before the Friday cattle report undercut live cattle on the open. And as of Wednesday, daily cattle slaughters were up 13,000 head from a week ago and gained 16,000 verses last year that fed into opinions that the seasonal increase in cattle numbers may be taking root.

What's more, steadily rising cattle slaughters squashed bullish notions that beef cutouts will bottom out soon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's midday beef wire reported choice and select cuts off $1.43 and $1.57.

On Thursday, scattered live basis cattle deals were done at $98 that was steady with the average price for cattle bought last week. A few dressed animals were purchased from $155 to $156 versus an average $160 a week ago.

Live cattle players marked time Thursday by bear-spreading out of spot-April into June and August. June/August bear and June/October bull positioning were also common.

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