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CME update: cattle futures rally along with the stock market

27 May 2020

US cattle futures rose alongside the rising stock market as the economy slowly reopens.

Reuters reports that the overall stock market rally can be tied to optimism about developing coronavirus vaccines and revived business activity. The positive signs buoyed livestock markets that had been hammered by the COVID-19 crisis.

Supportive cattle and meat supply data from the USDA late last week indicated that meat demand was ramping up while the cattle herd was shrinking – further underpinning prices.

The CME futures markets resumed trading on Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday. The holiday is the unofficial start to summer and is usually accompanied by a spike in meat demand.

"The market, because of the summer grilling season, came into the first of the three major summer holidays feeling good about recovering demand," said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.

US beef prices reached record highs this month amid concerns over meat shortages after outbreaks of COVID-19 at meat processing plants. Prices have slightly corrected from the spike, but they remain at historically high levels.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle ended 1.700 cents higher at 99.400 cents per lb, while actively traded August futures rose 1.925 cents to 99.250 cents per lb.

Benchmark August feeder cattle futures rallied by the 4.5-cent daily trading limit to close at 133.300 cents per lb after breaking through technical chart resistance at its 10- and 20-day moving averages. The limit-up close triggered an expanded trading limit of 6.75 cents for 27 May.

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