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US cattle futures dive in an unsteady trading day

10 March 2020

US live cattle futures plunged on Monday for a third trading day in a row amid significant market correction that could lead to a global recession.

According to reporting from Reuters, US live cattle futures fell on 9 March for a third straight session and hit life-of-contract lows following a plunge in crude oil and equity markets amid fears of a global recession, traders said.

"When you have the stock market losing 5 percent to 7 percent of its value in a day, that type of stuff is going to spill over into the cattle, and that is what we saw today," said Jeff French, analyst with Top Third Ag Marketing.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange April live cattle settled down 2.900 cents at 102.850 cents per pound after falling the daily 3-cent limit to 102.750 cents, a contract low.

CME April feeder cattle settled down their limit of 4.500 cents to end at 125.550 cents per pound. Daily limits for feeder cattle futures will widen to 6.750 cents for Tuesday's trade, the exchange said.

As the trading day continued, the rapid spread of coronavirus stoked fears of a recession, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 2,000 points, nearly 8 percent.

Along with spillover weakness from Wall Street, cattle markets faced a threat of reduced consumer demand for pricey cuts of beef.

"It's blown out of proportion, but in Chicago, just look at the business meetings that have been cancelled. That's steak dinners that they (attendees) are not going to get," French said.

"If consumers are feeling like they are losing money in the stock market and they are penny-conscious, beef is the most expensive protein out there," French said.

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