April cattle closed moderately higher on the session yesterday, and well above the early selloff lows as a firmer tone to the beef market and stronger than expected trade in the cash market were thought to helped support the market. Cash cattle traded $1.00 to $2.00 higher in the southern plains up to the $112.00-$113.00 level. Ideas that beef prices and cash cattle could trade higher helped support the rally in April cattle, which had traded as low as 111.02 during the session. An early recovery in the stock market and higher beef prices late Tuesday were seen as supporting the market early in the session, but a selloff in the stock market may have helped spark some long liquidation selling for cattle futures. Widely felt ideas that higher energy prices will eventually create weaker demand for US beef due to lower disposable income was seen as a negative factor for the market early in the session. Stronger beef prices this week plus a rally to all-time highs for the cash market have some traders feeling that higher gasoline prices might eventually cause a decline in beef demand, short-term cash signals remain positive. News that Nebraska cash cattle traded steady on the week at $180.00 on a dressed basis was seen as slightly positive. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 129,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 385,000 head, up from 372,000 head last week at this time and up from 364,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up 32 cents at mid-session yesterday, and closed at $172.88. This was up from $170.45 the prior week, and is the highest since February 1st.
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