October cattle closed 57 points higher on the session Friday, but lost 167 points during last week's trading. The cattle market traded slightly lower early in Friday's session, with many traders feeling the market was pressured by carryover weakness from the stock market, metals markets and energy markets. The liquidation of short positions ahead of the USDA Cattle-on-Feed report was widely thought to be a supportive factor. The USDA report released Friday afternoon was a positive surprise, as placements of cattle into feedlots for the month of August came in at 99.2% of last year. This figure was much lower than market expectations for a surge of more than 8%. Cattle marketings for August were much higher than expected at 6.5% above last year. This left the September 1st on-feed supply at just 5.3% above last year, compared with expectations for a supply in excess of 8% above last year. Many traders feel this report could lead to sharply higher prices today, as long as outside market forces are not excessively negative around the opening. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 108,000 head Friday and 38,000 head for Saturday. This brought the total for last week to 663,000 head, up from 653,000 head the previous week but down from 665,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were down 68 cents at mid-session Friday and closed $1.15 lower at $183.31. This was down from $185.58 the prior week and is the lowest beef market since September 12th.
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