Analysis: Watching the Cattle Market After Contracts Hit 4-Month High

04:50PM Jul 17, 2020
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Cattle futures closed mostly higher for the third consecutive trading session Friday. According to Pro Farmer, August live cattle settled unchanged, while deferred contracts posted modest price gains Friday.

This comes after some live cattle contracts traded to multi-month highs Thursday. However, the price isn’t as high as some would like. 

“We’ve got a little problem getting the beef price to come back up,” says Alan Brugler, president of Brugler Marketing and Management. “It’s really back where we were last winter, and we’d like to see it a little higher.”

Some analysts say fund investment money is a factor.

“It’s finally kind of coming together,” says DuWayne Bosse of Bolt Marketing LLC. “There is only one cash market now. I think because of that, you see some fund investment money start to step in this market. The fundamentals aren’t necessarily bullish cattle. In fact, they’re probably bearish, but the reason we made that 4-month high is I think we had some investment money come in here.”

Brugler says carcass weights are starting to come down and it could soon impact price.

“Those [carcass] weights dropping are telling us we’re making progress on that front,” says Brugler. “That’s usually the first step before you start to firm up those beef and pork prices and get the cash cattle and cash hog prices up.”

There are differing opinions. According to Top Third Ag Marketing, there are still an estimated 970,000 head backlogged throughout the country with carcass weights 45 pounds heavier than last. The heavier carcasses are adding 5% more beef into the pipeline compared to last year.