DTN Livestock Open: Uncertainty Surrounds Market

    Photo: Kay Ledbetter, Texas AgriLife Extension

    Cattle futures held well Friday despite some of the meltdown in equities and other commodities. Strong cash kept traders hopeful demand will continue even with the uncertainty of a new strain of COVID. Hog futures could not find any support with continued lower cash and cutouts as well as concern over exports.

    Cattle: Steady Futures: Mixed Live Equiv: $208.78 +$0.13*
    Hogs: Steady Futures: Mixed Lean Equiv: $90.79 -$1.05**
    *Based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue. (The Live Cattle Equiv. Index has been updated to depict recent changes in live cattle weights and grading percentages.)
    ** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue

    GENERAL COMMENTS:

    Holiday trading volume and the announcement of a new strain of COVID could not overcome the bullishness of a large price increase for cash cattle. Rather than packers holding back during the holiday-shortened week, they became more aggressive, needing to purchase cattle for current slaughter as well as some for futures delivery.

    Weekly export sales were 24% lower than the previous week and down 6% from the four-week average, but traders were more interested in the strength of cash and the prospect for higher cash again this week. The initial anticipation is for higher cash but not to the extent of what was seen last week. Boxed beef prices were mixed Friday with choice up $0.90 and select down $1.19.

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