Cattle futures opened lower yesterday and slid to limit lower by midday, something this industry has become so accustomed to in recent months. Nearby Dec futures trading as low as $116.97 and a fresh four year low. A sharply higher US$, weak hogs, weak equities, weak crude, and very poor market psychology all contributing. Traders also discouraged with monthly USDA beef pricing data showing Nov retail prices down just 1% vs year-ago levels, while the wholesale market is down 16%. Live and feeder cattle futures did, however, stage a solid $1-2 rebound through the afternoon hours, which should have futures off to a higher start this morning. At least one packer was seen raising cash cattle bids from $117 to $118 in the South yesterday afternoon, not a significant move in itself, but definitely a deviation from the trend we’ve seen in recent weeks. Futures also perhaps supported with confirmation of declining carcass weights. Week ending Dec 5 slaughter data showed the average carcass down 8 lbs vs the prior week, including steers down 10 lbs and heifers down 8 lbs.
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