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CME update: cattle futures gain ground as slaughter rates and exports rise

14 August 2020

CME live cattle futures continued their rally on 13 August, holding to a nearly six-month peak in prices as exports to China grew.

Reuters reports that China ramped up US beef purchases in the last week, with sales of 1,927 tonnes through 6 August. The USDA reports that this is the biggest purchasing volume since 2002.

Beef slaughter rates continue to increase, traders said, and meatpackers are paying more for cattle due to the strength of the beef market. Demand and prices normally are higher heading into Labour Day, a major US holiday for consumers to barbecue at home.

Prices for choice cuts of boxed beef rose $1.83, to $210.92 per cwt, while select cuts increased by $1.51, to $197.50 per cwt, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

CME October live cattle rose 0.575 cent to settle at 110.150 cents per pound, the highest price since 4 March. September feeder cattle slipped 0.300 cent to 144.950 cents per pound.

Profit margins for beef processors continued to increase on Thursday 13 August, to $249.55 per head of cattle from $246.65 a day earlier, according to Denver-based livestock marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com.

Traders said they would be closely watching for increased interest in US meat exports in the coming days, after China on Thursday identified a Brazilian processor of chicken and pork as the source of chicken wings that tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Read more about this story here.

Source: Reuters



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