April cattle closed 112 lower on the session yesterday and 232 off of the overnight highs, as demand concerns were widely seen as pressuring the market. Ideas that beef sales from restaurants and grocery stores will be significantly lower during the days ahead were thought to have encouraged aggressive long liquidation selling. Weakness with beef prices plus a higher than normal premium of futures to the cash market is also seen a negative factor for the cattle market. In addition, many traders see the massive storms across the eastern plains and Midwest as significant for demand, but the bulk of the snow had less impact on the main feedlot regions which are located in western Kansas and western Oklahoma. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 117,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 360,000 head, down from 381,000 head last week at this time and down from 371,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up 30 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 20 cents lower at $172.73. This was down from $173.59 the prior week and is the lowest beef price since January 19th.
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