The cattle markets followed up Thursday’s limit down move with another weaker performance on Friday, which had live cattle posting a near $4 loss on the week and feeders down generally $6-7. Technical weakness is again front and center, as is growing sentiment that the sharp boxed beef rally we’ve witnessed since Christmas is nothing more than post-holiday pipeline re-filling. Some traders even see last week’s 550K head slaughter total as large enough to put a halt to the beef trade later this week?? Do note, month of November beef import/export data out late last week was the most positive we’d seen in several months. Nov exports were down just 1% vs last year and a four month high. Imports, meanwhile, were down 27% vs last year and a 21 month low, with Australian shipments slowing dramatically as they reach their annual quota, which reset on Jan 1. The combination had the U.S. as a small net exporter of beef in Nov, the first time in almost two years.
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