Cattle Market Sees Tighter Beef Stocks

Live cattle futures ended the Wednesday session with losses of 20 to 72 cents in the front months. Front month feeder cattle futures were down triple digits, ending the session with losses of as much as $1.62. The 01/21 CME Feeder Cattle index was down 29 cents to $145.17. The NASS Cold Storage report showed that frozen beef stocks as of December 31st were 481.012 million lbs, which was a 2.95% decrease vs. Dec 2018. Total red meat stocks were at an all-time high for the end of December. Based on wire surveys, traders expect to see about a 2% increase in cattle on feed as of Jan 1 vs. year ago, that would put it at 11.948 million head. Placements in December are anticipated to be 3.4% higher, with an estimated 1.828 million head. The average estimate is to see 1.832 million head of marketings, a 5.2% increase year over year. Wholesale boxed beef prices were mixed this afternoon, pushing the Chc/Sel spread to $2.94. Choice boxes were up 45 cents, while Select boxes were $1.45 lower. USDA’s estimate for weekly FI cattle slaughter through Wednesday was 368,000 head.

---provided by Brugler Marketing & Management

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