August cattle closed slightly higher on the session yesterday and stayed within a fairly tight trading range of the past 10 days. Reports that consumer demand may improve in the US with the outlook for less heat in the next few weeks was also seen as a positive factor for the market. Ideas that last week's hear wave caused significant death loss in the Midwest, as well as ideas that cash cattle might trade higher this week were also thought to be supportive factors for the market. Some traders see a positive profit margin for packers and poor feedlot weather last week as "reasons" to suspect higher prices. Weekly export sales came in at 18,100 tonnes as compared with 23,600 tonnes last week. Cumulative sales for 2011 have reached 549,700 tonnes, which is up 35.5% from last year. From the actual weekly slaughter report for the week ending July 16th, average dressed steer weights increased again to 846 pounds from 845 pounds the previous week and 832 pounds last year at this time. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 129,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 514,000 head, up from 511,000 head last week at this time and up from 512,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were down 29 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 48 cents lower at $175.25. This was down from $176.59 the prior week.
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