Cattle Leak Lower into the Close, Despite Midday Gains

Close up of cow looking at camera

Live cattle are trading with 37 to 60 cent gains across most contracts on Thursday. Cash trade this week has been quiet so far, with a few light trades of $192 in the north and $187 in the south, though nothing to establish a trend. The Thursday Fed Cattle Exchange from the Central Stockyards saw 120 head of the 600 listed selling in a range of $190-190.25, all out of IA. After the close on Wednesday, USDA reported another human case of H5N1, this time in Michigan connected with a dairy herd that had previously contracted the virus. The market seemed less concerned with this compared to the past headline stories as they shrugged off the news on the open.

Feeder cattle got hit with higher inputs from gains in the corn and weaker fat cattle on Thursday. Contracts wered own 65 cents to $1.45 at the close. May expired and rolled off the board at $250.325. The CME Feeder Cattle index was up another 37 cents on May 21 to $248.81. 

Export sales of beef totaled 21,522 MT in the week of 5/16, up 42.2% on the week and the third largest this calendar year. Of that total, 5,800 MT was headed to China. Shipments were at 17,300 MT, the highest this MY.

USDA’s Wholesale Boxed Beef prices were mixed in the Thursday afternoon report. Choice boxes were down $2.33 at $309.84, with Select back 47 cents higher to $300.08. That narrowed the Chc/Sel spread to $9.76. USDA estimated FI cattle slaughter at 122,000 head for Thursday, taking the weekly total to 486,000 head. That is down 1,000 head from last week and down 13,531 head below the same week last year.

Jun 24 Live Cattle  closed at $183.525, down $0.650,

Aug 24 Live Cattle  closed at $181.075, down $0.600,

Oct 24 Live Cattle  closed at $184.075, down $0.575,

May 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $250.325, down $0.050,

Aug 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $261.450, down $1.450,

Sep 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $262.725, down $1.025,

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.