CME update: firm beef prices lead cattle futures higher

Benchmark live cattle futures on the CME climbed to a contract high on 29 March, led by firming wholesale beef prices as the summer grilling season approaches.
calendar icon 30 March 2021
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Reuters reports that cattle futures also rose on hopes that the US economy will rebound from the COVID-19 crisis. Feeder cattle futures also set a contract high.

CME April live cattle settled up 0.875 cent at 120.975 cents per pound while most-active June futures ended up 0.875 cent at 122.650 cents, after reaching a contract high at 123.500 cents.

CME May feeder cattle finished 2.325 cents higher at 152.200 cents per pound, after setting a contract high at 153.175 cents.

"We have seen a significant uptake in wholesale beef prices," said Altin Kalo, agricultural economist for Steiner Consulting.

Beef prices have been rising since mid-March and the trend continued on Monday, with choice cuts of boxed beef rising $1.87 to $239.53 per cwt, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Select cuts jumped $4.73 to $232.50 per cwt.

"Some of the gains that we were penciling in for mid to late April are here right now," Kalo said.

The strength in beef has helped lift packers' profit margins, fueling expectations for market-ready cattle to trade higher in cash markets this week. Packer margins rose to $369.65 per head on Monday, up from $326.95 a week ago, according to Denver-based livestock marketing advisory service LLC.

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Source: Reuters

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