Livestock Markets Soften on Perceived Demand Woes

Cattle futures continued to slip on Tuesday, falling back from three-month highs notched last week as traders work to gauge the strength of demand for beef at slightly elevated prices.

December live-cattle futures dropped 37 to $108, February live-cattle futures declined 72 to $110, and Feeder-cattle futures for January advanced 17 to $126

Hog futures also ended the session lower, as investors bet that recent strength in the cash markets will soon fade.  December hogs dropped 7 to 50.35, February hog futures declined 112 to 54.70.

Grain and oilseed futures sank after concerns over demand for U.S. crops snapped soybeans’ winning streak in agricultural markets.

Corn futures led the decline, while soybeans ended a seven-day run-up and wheat also fell.

Strength in the U.S. dollar, and sliding crude oil futures cast a pall over agricultural markets.

Some analysts saw soybeans due for a correction after a seven-day rally, amid worries that demand from some reliable overseas buyers like China began to wane. Corn was pressured by concerns over broader bird flu outbreaks. And strength in the U.S. dollar was seen factoring into a decline in December Chicago wheat.

January soybeans closed at $10.42, down 13 1/2 ,  December Corn lost 11 3/4 to close at $3.36, December Chicago wheat closed at $3.84, down 5 ½, and December KC Wheat fell 12 ¾ to $3.98.

Cotton futures continued to slip on Tuesday with the March contract falling 72 to 71.30, and the May contract dropping 77 to 71.75.

Oil futures fell Tuesday, with market participants unconvinced that OPEC will reach a deal to cut production at the Wednesday meeting.

Anticipation of action to limit output has boosted the crude market in recent weeks. But comments from officials ahead of the meeting sowed doubts over OPEC’s ability to come to an agreement.  January crude closed down $178 at $45.30 a barrel, December gasoline fell 3 cents to $1.38 a gallon, and December diesel fell 5 cents to $1.47 a gallon.

Natural gas prices fell on Tuesday, reversing earlier gains, as investors took a breather from a six-day rally and awaited further clues to demand trends this winter. January nat gas fell a fraction to $3.31.

Stocks on Wall Street edged higher on Tuesday as an upbeat outlook from UnitedHealth lifted health insurers, though a sharp drop in oil prices weighed on energy shares and limited the advance.  The Dow gained 223 to 19,121, the Nasdaq closed at 5,379, up 11 and the S&P 500 gained almost 3 to 2,204.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

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