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FUTURES FILE

Cattle futures crunched

On Wednesday January Feeder cattle futures posted a new low for the move sinking to $227.425/cwt before rallying back and closing positive on the day at $232.775/cwt. A spike lower with a higher close like this can lead one to think a short-term bullish development, in an otherwise bearish market, is in the works where a nearby low has now been established.

That was not the case. January Feeders blew through Wednesday’s lows the next day closing at $224.925/cwt, down $7.85/cwt on the day. January Feeders are now roughly $44/cwt off the highs from mid-September, a 16% drop, and Thursday’s move lower was the equivalent of a kick to the ribs after taking a heavy beating already for cattle bulls.

Putting fundamental discussions aside for the moment, this is a market that will probably trade with some technical aspects going forward. Both cash fat cattle and the feeder cattle index are now trading well above the board in price, but still the market broke hard lower on Thursday. Technical speculative traders who enjoyed a bountiful two years of a “buy the dip” market have now switched to “sell the rip” until further notice, that is, if they are truly disciplined technical traders. Besides the fact that not everybody reads a chart the same, the kind of discipline required to switch sides after Team Bull just won the Super

Bowl for you isn’t easy. Neither are margin calls.

With this kind of volatility, it is likely that margin call exhaustion will be a real player in dictating how low prices can go between now and the end of the year. The difference between, “It’s due for a bounce,” “It can’t go any lower,” and “I’ve had enough, get me out” aren’t labeled on a chart but they are the prices that matter most. Two out of three ain’t bad but the third can ruin more than a weekend.

WASDE report raises yields

The November WASDE report from the USDA was released Thursday. The USDA raised both corn and soybean yields. Corn went from 173 bu/ac in last month’s report to 174.9 bu/ac and soybeans went from 49.6 bu/ac to 49.9 bu/ac. The price impact of the yield increase was minimal as the market has already shifted its focus to the weather in South American production areas. However, the window for the USDA providing any more bullish fodder with yield reductions to the 2023 crop has probably been shut.

Opinions are solely the writer’s. Derrick Hermesch is a commodity futures broker with Pinion. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell nor does it provide any recommendations in regard to the market.

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