Cattle Market: Short-Term Volatility with Eyes on Key Levels

The cattle market grapples with mixed signals, setting the stage for potential volatility soon. Here’s a breakdown of the critical factors and pricing indicators to watch:

Factors in Focus

  • Demand Picture: This section holds significant importance as it provides insights into consumer behavior and its potential impact on the cattle market. While underlying demand appears solid, watch for shifts in consumer buying patterns due to lingering inflation. Export data, particularly on Chinese trade, will be crucial.
  • Supply Constraints: This section outlines the critical factor determining near-term supply dynamics. Drought severity will be crucial in this regard. Any further herd reduction could tighten the market considerably. Additionally, restrictions related to Avian flu outbreaks and continued testing are affecting the market. 
  • Feed Costs: Grains continue to rally as extreme downpours flood Brazilian growers.

Current Pricing Snapshot

  • Live Cattle Futures (June Contract):  Prices are hovering near $185/cwt, consolidating after recent gains.
  • Feeder Cattle Futures (August Contract): The contracts are trading near $215/cwt, suggesting some optimism about feeder cattle prices.
  • Regional Auctions:  Choice steers are seeing mixed results, ranging from $150-$170/cwt based on location.

Technical Outlook

  • Key Resistance: Live cattle futures face a critical resistance zone near $190/cwt. A sustained breakout above this level could open the path for further upward momentum.
  • Support Levels: Significant support sits around $180/cwt. A strong bounce off this level could reaffirm bullish sentiment.
  • Moving Averages: Watch for crossovers between short-term (e.g., 20-day) and longer-term (e.g., 50-day) moving averages as they can signal trend shifts.
Sign up for text alerts from NFC! Enter your mobile number to join: