Cattle Firming Up after Monday Collapse

Close up of brown cow in pasture

Fat cattle prices lightly gapped higher to recover some of the sharp drops to start the week. Prices were up by nearly $3 earlier on Tuesday, but sit 20 to 97 cents in the black at midday. Live cattle futures ended Monday with losses of as much as 3.4% and some with triple digit losses of $5 per cwt or more. Preliminary open interest data showed rolling from April into June, with some light net new selling in the deferred months. Overall, there were 123 contracts added across all delivery months in the live cattle complex. Live cattle options saw 11.5k new contracts added yesterday, nearly even with new calls and new puts. The H5N1 avian flu is being discovered in more cattle herds (now in 6 states) and spread to a human in Texas who worked with cattle. That was only the second known crossover to humans in the US, ever, it is treatable and rarely fatal in humans. 

Midday feeder cattle futures are trading 62 to $1.42 in the black, but are also $2 off their session highs. USDA’s OKC Feeder Cattle Auction Review had 3,148 head sold with prices up by $4-$8 in the heifers. Heifer sales made up 44% of the total, and 63% of the total sale were +600lbs. CME Feeder Cattle index was $248.99 on 3/27.

USDA reported cash trade last week from $184 to $191, with the bulk of sales near $186 in the South and near $189-$190 in the North. Monday activity was mostly collection of show lists.

USDA’s Wholesale Boxed Beef prices were weaker on Tuesday morning, with Choice down by 51 cents and Select $1.72 weaker. USDA reported the Monday cattle slaughter at 109k head. Which is down 9k from last week and compares to 120k head during the same week last year. 

April 24 Cattle  are at $181.100, up $1.025,

Jun 24 Cattle  are at $175.450, up $0.125,

Aug 24 Cattle  are at $172.325, up $0.225,

Cash Cattle Index was $184.000, from $188.00 last week

April 24 Feeder Cattle  are at $240.925, up $0.500

May 24 Feeder Cattle  are at $242.950, up $0.275

On the date of publication, Alan Brugler did not have (either directly or indirectly) positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.