Cattle Weekly Comments May 12

Cattle Weekly Comments May 12

Cattle pushed higher the first half of the week but gave back most of the weekly gains the second half of the week. Early week strength was due to technical buying as traders started to push cattle higher after what most thought was a big enough break to clean up an overbought market condition. But the gains were short lived as the lack of a cash trade resulted in the live cattle to retrace while a firmer corn market pressured feeders.

Cattle started the week off on the plus side with support coming from technical buying as most traders are looking to pick a bottom to re-enter the cattle market. Gains were kept in check from a disappointing cash trade, which has slowly declined for the last three weeks. Feeder cattle were supported by the lower corn market. Tight supplies and the expectations that supplies are only going to get tighter added support.

Tuesday’s session continued to see technical buying push the cattle market higher. Cattle broke between $5 to $7 and now traders are trying to pick a bottom to re enter positions. Live cattle’s gains were kept in check from the lack of a cash trade. Feeder cattle were supported by the lower grains complex, especially corn. Tight supplies and the expectation that USDA will only tight supplies further in Friday’s Crop Production report added support. There is a little concern that domestic beef demand could be slowing due to high price for product especially when compared to pork and chicken.

Wednesday’s session ran into a bit of selling pressure. The lack of a cash trade added pressure to the live cattle market. Light activity was reported at $177, $1 above last week, but volume was light. Losses were kept in check by traders who are trying to bring June futures and cash in line with each other. June futures are at a $14 discount to cash. Feeder cattle were pressured by spill over pressure from a higher corn market.

Cattle closed lower after trading on both sides of the fence. Early support came from a weaker grain complex but those gains were kept in check from the lack of a cash trade. Light support came from better-than-expected inflation indicators as both the CPI and PPI numbers were better than expected. Only light cash sales of cattle were reported with most activity taking place between $176 to $178. A pen of heifers in TX traded at $171.50 on the FCE Online auction. Last week’s export sales pace was estimated at 16,617 MT. So far, beef exports are trailing last year’s pace by 14%. Feeder cattle were mixed with the soon to expire May staying in line with cash while the deferred months were higher due to the lower grains.

As of May 7, pasture and range conditions were estimated at 33% g/e, 30% fair, and 37% p/vp. This is compared to last year’s rating of 22% g/e.

For the week, June live cattle are at $164.40 up $1.975. May feeder cattle are at $205.475 up $2.95.