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Cattle market futures rise as export data comes in

05 March 2020

US livestock futures strengthened on 4 March as financial market gains fuelled a recovery from last week's contract lows in the live cattle market.

According to reporting from Reuters, live cattle futures have been looking to equity markets for direction as uncertainty about the impact of the coronavirus epidemic has fueled swings in stock prices. Global equities rose even though the economy-slowing virus outbreak kept investors on tenterhooks.

April live cattle closed 1.175 cents higher at 111.275 cents per pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, futures touched a contract low of 107.475.

June live cattle futures, the second-most-active contract, advanced 1.150 cents to 104.525 cents per pound. April feeder cattle jumped 1.775 cents to 135.550 cents per pound.

Traders were waiting for the US Department of Agriculture to issue weekly export sales data on Thursday. 

The coronavirus outbreak clouded the outlook for Chinese demand, after Beijing pledged to buy more American farm goods as part of an initial trade deal signed in January. US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress he was hopeful China would follow through on its promises, despite challenges from coronavirus.

"The signals are they want to comply," Perdue said.

Boxed beef cutout prices edged higher for choice cuts and dropped for select cuts, USDA data showed.

According to the USDA, processors slaughtered 122,000 cattle, down from 123,000 cattle a week ago and up from 115,000 a year earlier.

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