U.S. Livestock: Cattle Futures Shoot Higher on Rising Boxed Beef Prices

May 17, 2024

By Reuters and Tom Polansek

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle and feeder cattle futures rallied on Tuesday as soaring boxed beef prices fueled hopes for increased demand, analysts said.

The choice boxed beef cutout value climbed by $5.44 to $304.39 per cwt after jumping by $4.38 on Monday, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Select cuts surged $6.64 to $293.82 after rising by $3.01 on Monday.

The increases sparked short covering in futures and raised hopes that meatpackers may increase their demand for cattle to process, traders said. Packers slaughtered an estimated 123,000 cattle on Tuesday, down from 124,000 cattle a week ago and 126,993 cattle a year ago, according to the USDA.

“We’ve had quite a bit of strength in boxed beef to start the week,” said Matt Wiegand, commodity broker for risk management firm FuturesOne in Nebraska.

June live cattle futures LCM24 finished 2.6 cents higher at 178.175 cents per pound and reached the highest level since April 26. August feeder cattle futures FCQ24 closed 4.325 cents higher at 255.675 cents per pound and touched the highest level since May 2.

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