Cattle Weekly Comments May 19

Cattle Weekly Comments May 19

Live cattle traded with losses the first two sessions of the week but recovered and traded with gain the last two sessions of the week. Feeder cattle on the other hand traded with gains to start and close out the week but faded lower in the middle two sessions.

Live cattle started the week higher with most of the early support coming from Friday’s lower than expected beef production estimate, which once again verifies tight beef supplies moving forward and the fact that supplies will continue to be tight for a few years. That lack of a cash trade limited June’s strength. Strong demand added support to the feeder cattle market as supplies of feedlot ready cattle start to decline. The average weight for dressed steers last week came in at 817 pounds vs 818 pounds previously.

Tuesday’s session had cattle starting sloppy and appeared to be under the same influence as the grains, fund selling. The lack of a cash trade pressured the live cattle market. Feeder cattle were supported by the lower grains. Tight supplies continue to give cattle underlining support. Light selling pressure was also due to thoughts that the Fed will raise interest rates in their June meeting. Position squaring ahead of Friday’s COF report was also evident.

Cattle traded in opposite direction midweek with live cattle higher while feeder cattle slipped lower. The live cattle market was higher on expectations that this week’s cash will trade at better money. Light support was also due to the need to try and bring the June futures and cash more in line with each other. June is at a steep discount to cash. Gains were kept in check by a sharply lower lean hog market. Feeder cattle slipped lower due to economic concerns.

Cattle pushed higher to close out the week. Early support came from reports of a light cash trade at $177, which continues to be sharply above where the June board is trading. Tight supplies and the expectations that beef demand for the Memorial Day weekend will be strong added support, which is also the official kick off to the BBQ season. Last week’s export sales pace was estimated at 17,430 MT. Feeder cattle were supported by tight supplies and from a lower grain complex. The cash feeder cattle index is at $202.61. Position squaring ahead of Friday’s COF report was also evident.

The COF report was as expected with all categories coming in as expected. The numbers were: On Feed: 97%, Placed: 96%, and Placed: 90%.

As of May 14, pasture and range conditions were estimated at 34% g/e, 33% fair, and 33% p/vp, 1% above last week.

For the week, June live cattle are at $165.725 up $1.325. May feeder cattle are at $206.275 up 80 cents.