Market News & Headlines >> Big Feedlot Placements Surprise Cattle Market
U.S. cattlemen placed more cattle in feedlots than expected during December, pushing the Jan. 1 feedlot inventory slightly above a year earlier, according to Friday afternoon’s monthly Cattle-on-Feed report from USDA.
That news caused active liquidation of long positions in live cattle futures on Monday by speculators who were heavily long the market going into the report.
USDA pegged December feedlot placements at 1.795 million head or 117.6% of a year earlier, easily topping trade estimates that averaged 108.4% of a year earlier in a range from 103.5%-113.6%, according to a survey of 10 analysts by Reuters News Service. The monthly placements were the largest for December in six years.
As a result of the strong feedlot placements, the Jan. 1 feedlot inventory came in at 1.605 mil. head or 100.3% of a year earlier, topping trade estimates that averaged 99.0% of a year earlier in a range from 98.4%-100.0%.
The feedlot inventory crept above a year earlier despite continued strong feedlot marketings. December feedlot marketings of 1.787 million head were 106.8% of a year earlier, closely in line with trade expectations that averaged 106.7% of a year earlier in a range from 104.8%-109.2%. The monthly marketings were the largest for December in six years.