Cargill is temporarily closing its High River, Alberta, beef plant due to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility. Meanwhile, the company says it has re-opened its processing facility in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
Friday’s report is anticipated not only for the information that enables market analysts to estimate slaughter cattle supplies, but also because the January report was unpublished due to the government shutdown.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures climbed to a two-week high on Monday, buoyed by technical buying and ideas that strong consumer demand for beef would continue, traders and analysts said.
U.S. live cattle futures bounded to life-of-contract highs for the third straight session on Wednesday, rising on expectations that beef packers will continue paying higher prices in Plains cash markets.
U.S. live cattle futures fell for a fifth straight session on Friday on technical selling and pressure from a weak cash cattle market following lower trade at U.S. Plains feedlots this week, traders said.
U.S. beef packers including Tyson Foods and Cargill are racking up historically high margins, thanks to slumping cattle prices amid a supply glut and as Americans turn to beef for their backyard summer barbecues.
Anecdotal evidence and supply observations suggest packers have recently had a negotiating advantage over feedlots. Packer margins continue to be wide and the supply of cattle on feed continues to be high.