April and June cattle closed slightly higher on the session yesterday following hogs and grain markets to the upside. A rally in the beef market and talk of a smaller showlist helped to support the rally as both the April and June cattle pushing up into new contract highs. The set-back in slaughter levels from packers over during the past several weeks appears to be finally working to clean-up the beef market, as beef prices are up sharply over the past week. However, some traders feel that the packer-induced setback in slaughter levels could have left a few extra market-ready cattle in feedlots. As a result, news that the showlist was lower this week came as a surprise to many in the market. Other traders feel that the rally in beef prices yesterday may be more than offset by news of a hefty jump in frozen supply. January 31st cold storage stocks for beef came in at 482.07 million pounds, which was up 4% from last year. This was also up 5% from last month and beef stocks normally do not change much in January. For the USDA Cattle-on-Feed report on Friday, traders see February 1st on-feed supply near 102.5% of last year, placements down a bit more than 1% from last year and marketing's in January near unchanged from last year. Slaughter came in below expectations at 118,000 head. This brings the total for the week so far to 348,000 head, down from 363,000 head last week at this time and down from 374,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up $2.47 at mid-session yesterday and closed $2.73 higher at $196.88. This was up from $189.38 the prior week and is the highest beef trade since $197.07 on November 23rd.
Join the Discussion