August cattle closed moderately lower on the session yesterday and back into the recent trading range as weakness in the stock market, a surge higher in the US dollar and weakness in the cash market this week were all thought to have pressured the market. Some traders indicated that the uncertainty over a debt ceiling solution in Washington dampened risk-taking appetites, which may have weighed on a number of commodity markets including live cattle. Ideas that the weaker beef prices of the past 10 days may have only been a short-term negative force due to weather, and could be made up by seeing better upcoming beef demand, may have helped to strengthen the market. However, lost demand from weather generally does not resurface as higher than expected demand when the weather returns to normal conditions. If a consumer avoided a steak last week due to extreme heat and humidity, the consumer may have a steak this week but not two steaks to make up for the lost demand. Talk of a sharp drop in average weights and increased death loss from last week helped to provide some underlying support. Packers in the southern plains are bidding $107.00 with offers at $110.00-$111.00. This leaves August futures at a significant premium to the cash market. 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 384,000 head last week at this time and up from 382,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up 89 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 99 cents higher at $175.73. This was down from $178.24 the prior week.
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