Cattle futures extend rally

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were up sharply, closing near the session highs, following through on Wednesday’s oversold bounce. That’s despite uncertainties about a trade war with China, the week’s lower direct business, and the recent mixed to lower trend in boxed beef. Japan’s tariff on beef imports has reset to 38.5%. April was up $1.27 at $114.30 and June was $2.72 higher at $105.05.

Feeder cattle were supported by the same factors as the live pit, also closing near the day’s highs. The higher move in corn was not a factor. April was $2.97 higher at $137.47 and May was up $2.92 at $138.05.

Direct cash cattle markets were mostly at a standstill. Extremely scattered trade was reported at $117 on the live basis in Kansas and $180 to $197 dressed in Iowa. Trade this week has been generally been light, so there’s more business left to be done in many of the major feeding areas Friday. Sales have been down around $3 from last week on the live basis and roughly $3 to $4 lower for dressed. With the rally in futures, asking prices are now around $120+ live and $190 to $192+ dressed, with bids holding close to $117 live and $186 to $187 dressed. It remains to be seen if and when China’s announced tariff on U.S. beef imports will go into effect.

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Choice was down $3.08 at $215.09 and Select was up $.13 at $206.31. The estimated cattle slaughter of 118,000 head was unchanged on the week and up 6,000 on the year.

At the Winter Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in Kansas, compared to the previous week, steers weighing 650 to 950 pounds were $5 to $9 lower. Feeder heifers weighing 600 to 650 pounds were firm and 650 to 850-pound heifers were $5 to $8 lower. The USDA says trade was slow and demand was light. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 750 to 800 pounds brought $131.75 to $134.50 and 800 to 900-pound steers ranged from $123.10 to $130.35. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 700 to 800 pounds were reported at $120 to $125.25 and 800 to 900-pound heifers brought $115 to $120.50.

Source: Brownfield Ag News