U.S. livestock: Cattle limit up on beef demand, strong packer margins

Cash hog prices up, pork cutout down


By Julie Ingwersen, GFM Network News/Reuters

via Canadian Cattlemen - March 24, 2020


Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures settled up their expanded daily limit on Tuesday as traders continued to react to soaring profit margins for beef packers that should lift prices in the cash cattle market this week.


Retail demand for meat has surged as fears of the COVID-19 coronavirus prompt consumers to stock up on supplies, super-charging margins.


“The knee-jerk reaction in this coronavirus deal was to sell the livestock markets. They thought demand and cut-outs would fall drastically, and we saw the exact opposite. So the market is correcting itself,” said Joe Vaclavik, president of Standard Grain, a brokerage.


Profit margins for beef processors reached a record high of $611.10 per head of cattle on Tuesday, according to livestock marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com. That was up from $580.70 on Monday and $317.10 a week ago (all figures US$).


Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle futures settled up the expanded 4.5-cent daily limit at 97.025 cents/lb. and CME’s May feeder cattle futures contract ended up 6.75 cents at 129.5 cents/lb.


The exchange will keep daily limits at 4.5 cents for live cattle futures and 6.75 cents for feeder cattle futures on Wednesday, except for...