July 6, 2011


US cattle futures end higher again



US cattle futures ended at their peak in more than a week on Tuesday (Jul 5) because investors deem the warm, rain-free holiday weekend resulted in revelers grilling hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs and other meats.


A Chicago-based meat broker said that while the dry weather should have been good for business it would be later on Tuesday before retailers call in to report meat sales.


Feeder cattle charged to a record high, but later pared gains as corn futures jumped US$0.40 a bushel.


Hogs also finished at a one-week high after trading both sides of unchanged early as the market's discount to cash plus hopes for active weekend pork sales pulled buyers to the market.


"I think the clearance we are going to see will be positive in the short term," a broker said.


Brisk weekend meat sales would give the market a short-term boost. Longer-term traders will be looking to weeks of slow meat sales as hot summer weather will have consumers shifting away from meat and to cooler fare like salads, fruits and vegetables.


The August cattle are bumping against the 100-day moving average of 113.409 cents. If they can move past that resistance the next resistance point was about 115 cents, traders said.


Cash cattle markets were quiet on Tuesday, leaving traders to ponder weekend beef sales. USDA's midday wholesale beef report quoted choice beef up slightly, but it is too early for that data to reflect weekend business.


USDA reported the choice beef at US$179.22 per cwt, up 62 cents from Friday (Jul 1), and the select at US$4173.13, up 82 cents.


Cash cattle traded at US$112-112.50 per cwt last week and analysts expect steady cash this week.


CME August cattle 2LCQ1 closed up 0.500 cent or 0.44% at 113.350 cents per lb and October 2LCV1 up 0.175 cent or 0.15% at 119.850 cents.


Feeder cattle set more records as investors bought after hearing about higher prices and strong demand at last week's cash feeder markets.


"Buyers were very aggressive to own cattle. Possession was the name of the game," USDA said in Friday's Kansas feeder cattle summary, where prices were up US$2-4 per cwt.


A smaller cattle herd plus a drought in much of the southern Plains depleted feeder cattle supplies and has forced aggressive bidding by feedlots that need to fill cattle pens.


Two weeks ago USDA reported an 11% drop in May feedlot placements versus a year ago.


"Placements were sharply lower in May and they are going to be down sharply for June," said an analyst.


The lead August feeders peaked at a record 141.900 cents in electronic trading.


At the close pit-traded August feeders FCQ1 were up 0.800 cent or 0.57% at 141.275 cents per lb and September FCU1 up 1.025 cents or 0.725% at 142.575 cents.


Hogs advanced to a one-week high on buying induced by the hopes for good weekend pork sales and by the futures' discount to cash markets.


Cash hog markets were not well defined early on Tuesday, but had been trending lower as pork plants anticipate a summer slowdown in pork sales.


CME July hogs 2LHN1 closed up 0.275 cent or 0.29% at 95.775 cents per lb and August 2LHQ1 up 0.200 cent or 0.21% at 93.350 cents.

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