October cattle closed lower on the session Friday, but finished with a gain of 365 points for the week. The market had a setback early in the session to trade slightly lower for the day, but optimism over the cash market outlook supported a rebound into mid-session. US southern plains cattle traded at $117.00-$118.00, which was up $4.00-$5.00 for the week. The market saw a set-back on Friday after an impressive 4-day run higher, although some traders feel that the market has been acting like a significant low may be in place. Outside market forces are widely seen to be negative this morning with a weak US stock market and a stronger US dollar. Packers were seen to be short-bought in the cash market and may have been forced to pay-up for live inventory. Some traders believe that this may cause packers to push beef prices up this week in order to hold onto profitable margins. Weekly U.S. beef export sales for the week ending September 1st came in at 16,500 metric tonnes, compared with the prior 4-week average of 15,050 tonnes. Cumulative sales for 2011 have reached 643,600 metric tonnes, up 36.8% from last year's pace. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 129,000 head Friday and 59,000 head for Saturday. This brought the total for last week to 577,000 head, down from 661,000 head the previous week and down from 583,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up 30 cents at mid-session Friday and closed 31 cents higher at $180.13. This was down from $181.80 last week.
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