October cattle closed sharply higher on the session yesterday, gaining more than 200 points and rising to the highest price levels since July 13th. Higher beef prices and a surge in the US stock market were also seen as helping to support. In addition, sharply higher grain markets added to the positive tone as cash cattle traded $3.00-$4.00 higher on the week to $116.00. Many traders see higher corn prices as a reason to suspect lower weights and fewer cattle out into 2012. The live market and the beef market suggest that consumer demand may be better than many traders have anticipated. Improving consumer weather and increased retailer demand for bookings for the Labor Day holiday have also helped to support the market. Boxed beef cutout values were up $1.79 at mid-session yesterday and closed $1.80 higher at $178.03. This was up from $173.48 the prior week and is the highest beef market since July 20th. Weekly U.S. beef export sales for the week ending August 4th came in at 14,600 metric tonnes, compared with the prior 4-week average of 19,025 tonnes. Cumulative sales for 2011 have reached 581,500 metric tonnes, up 37.2% from last year's pace. There was some positively received news from the monthly supply/demand report as beef exports for 2011 were revised higher by 100 million pounds and beef production revised lower by 16 million pounds. For reference, weekly beef production is about 500 million pounds. For 2012, beef production was revised slightly lower and is expected to be down 4.3% from this year. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 126,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 508,000 head, up from 507,000 head last week at this time and up from 507,000 head a year ago. Average dressed steer weights for the week ending July 30th came in at 845 pounds, down from 847 pounds the previous week but still up 0.96% from a year ago. Beef production for the same week came in at 513.2 million pounds, up 1.85% over year ago.