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CME update: cattle futures weaken as traders question long-term demand

24 April 2020

US live cattle futures eased while traders struggled to determine the long-term demand impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Reuters on 23 April, Terry Reilly, a senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago explained, "for livestock, traders are still trying to figure out where to take this market given the uncertainty of meat demand for the rest of the year.

"It is unknown how much the restaurants will buy or take in over the next six to 12 months."

A Tyson Foods Inc unit said on Thursday it would temporarily halt production at a beef facility in Pasco, Washington, adding to the meat-processing plants the company has had to shutter as it tests workers for COVID-19.

CME June live cattle fell 1 cent to 82.925 cents per pound.

August feeder cattle futures fell 0.825 cent to 126.375 cents per pound.

Live cattle contracts will trade with expanded limits of 4.5 cents on Friday after some deferred contracts posted limit moves on Thursday.

The US Agriculture Department will release its monthly cattle on feed report Friday afternoon. Analysts were expecting the amount of cattle in US feedlots as of 1 April to be 95 percent of a year earlier, according to the average of estimates in a Reuters poll. Placements in March were seen 21 percent lower than March 2019.

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