The live cattle contracts rallied throughout Monday’s market as traders finally looked beyond the concerns of the U.S. banking system and opted to focus on the market’s strong fundamentals. It was rather impressive that the spot June contract closed above the market’s 100-day moving average and was only short $0.38 to closing steady with the market’s 40-day moving average. If traders can keep with this upward momentum, the cash cattle market should have no issue trading higher. April live cattle closed $1.90 higher at $164.9, June live cattle closed $2.28 higher at $158.875 and August live cattle closed $2.18 higher at $158.6. Monday’s slaughter is estimated at 125,000 head, steady with a week ago and 5,000 head more than a year ago. New showlists appear to be mixed, lower in Texas, Nebraska and Colorado but somewhat higher in Kansas.
Last week’s negotiated cash cattle trade totaled 84,955 head. Of that, 75% (64,049 head) were committed for the nearby delivery, while the remaining 25% (20,906 head) were committed for the deferred delivery. The bulk of last week’s trade took place on Wednesday with a little light scattered trade reported on Thursday. Northern dressed deals ranged from $262 to $268, mostly $264 to $265, steady to $1 higher than the prior week’s weighted average basis Nebraska. Southern live trade was at $162 to mostly $163, $1 lower than the previous week’s weighted averages.
Boxed beef prices closed mixed: choice up $0.48 ($280.36) and select up $0.97 ($269.72) with a movement of 70.66 loads (40.68 loads of choice, 8.21 loads of select, 4.56 loads of trim and 17.21 loads of ground beef).
TUESDAY’S CATTLE CALL: $1.00 to $2.00 higher. With the futures market finally coming back to terms with the market’s strong fundamentals, feedlots should have no issue trading cash cattle higher, especially if boxed beef prices are bottoming and finding support.
It was a barnburner type of day for the feeder cattle complex as all of the contracts closed $2.00 to $3.00 higher. It was quite encouraging to see that the feeder cattle contracts continued to trade higher even though the corn complex jumped $0.05 to $0.09 higher in its nearby contracts. But as traders look at the feeder cattle market, there’s one thing that’s become undeniably true: supplies are thin now and are only going to become thinner the close we get to the second half of the year. Also, please note the CME Feeder Cattle Index close of $191.24 — the last time the CME Feeder Cattle Index closed in the $190s was back in 2015. March feeders closed $2.70 higher at $192.35, April feeders closed $2.83 higher at $197.625 and May feeders closed $3.83 higher at $201.375. At the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, compared to last week and at the midsession point, feeder steers were selling $3.00 to $5.00 higher, but 600 weights were selling up to $12.00 and $16.00 higher. Steer calves were selling steady to $4.00 higher. Feeder heifers were trading steady to $1.00 higher and heifer calves were selling $6.00 to $8.00 higher. Feeder cattle supplies over 600 pounds was 53%. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for March 24: up $2.39, $191.24.