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CME update: cattle futures mixed at the end of the week

20 April 2020

US live and feeder cattle futures ended mixed on 17 April, with short term contracts pressured by coronavirus-related slowdowns at processing plants, while hopes of a reopening economy bolstered deferred contracts.

According to Reuters, actively traded June live cattle ended higher on the week, for a second straight week, after seven consecutive weeks of decline.

“All the bad news has been digested. We know that we’re closing plants,” said Jeff French, analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing.

Traders are hopeful federal aid to the agriculture sector will provide some support for livestock.

June live cattle futures dropped to a $24 discount to cash market prices at the start of the week amid worries about declining slaughter capacity that could further pressure the market, according to analysts.

Processors including JBS USA and National Beef Packing Company have closed beef plants due to COVID-19 infections among workers.

June live cattle fell 0.175 cent to 86.300 cents per pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, up 2.3 percent from the week prior. May feeder cattle futures climbed 0.800 cent to 119.275 cents per pound, up 0.3 percent on the week.

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