By Cassie Fish, http://cassandrafish.com
CME cattle futures are trading at a very slow pace today, as the market awaits the cash trade which probably won’t occur until after the close. Consolidation. Chop. However, you want to say it, the market seems to content to cool it’s heels and kill time.
The packers have laid their plans and slaughter levels will be curtailed per normal this time of year, over the next 3 weeks. This week look for a 601k head compared to 602k last year. Last year next week’s kill was 575k and next week this year will be sub-600k.
The 40 retenders yesterday were demanded so that may have put an end to the delivery drama. It certainly slowed long liquidation in Feb LC today, as Feb is now back to gaining on the remaining months which have traded lower most of the day. Today has the feel of fund selling in feeders and back month cattle, but who knows.
Nebraska woke up to bitter cold temperatures and snowfall moving its way across the state. Cattle and cattle feeders are weary of this winter and there are weeks to go. Packers are tired of killing muddy cattle. Winter weather could develop next week in Kansas, but it remains to be seen whether or not it’s a factor.
More actual kill and weight data was released by the USDA this morning, for week ending January 19 and steer carcass weights had a 3-pound uptick from the prior week’s big drop, putting them at 886 pounds, 5 pounds below a year ago. The kill that week turned out to be 626k head, up 6k from the estimate and the fed kill was 487k head, up 7k from the prior year.
In the north, packers ‘will call’ at $199 and even in some cases $200, steady to lower than last week. South bids have been scarce, though cash will likely trade steady there at $125.
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