Managed money, or large commodity funds, extended their net long position in live cattle futures to its largest in 1 ½ years during the week ended Tuesday as commercial traders, those who actually handle the cattle, extended their net short position equally as far back.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in its weekly Commitments of Traders report Friday that managed money had a net long position of 64,837 contracts, their largest since the week ended July 1, 2015, when it was 74,353 contracts. The new position also was the third straight week of increases in their collective net long position.
Commercial traders, extended their net short position to 92,391 contracts in the latest CFTC reporting week, their largest since 96,821 the week ended July 7, 2015.
The CFTC said managed money arrived at its new live cattle position by adding 3,671 long positions and covering 8,064 shorts while unwinding 2,053 spread positions. This left them representing 28.5% of total long positions and just 6.% of total short positions.
Commercials got to their new net short position by liquidating 618 long positions and adding 8,484 short positions. This left them in control of 14.2% of total long open interest and 46.2% of total short open interest.
The CME Group said total live cattle open interest in the latest CFTC week fell 5,070 contracts, or 1.76%, to 283,738 contracts from 288,808.
During the latest reporting week, the most-active Feb futures contract rose to $110.30 per cwt from $110.17, putting in a double high of $112.52 on Friday and Monday.
FUNDS, COMMERCIALS GO SHORT CORN
During the same reporting week, managed money increased its net short position by 18,473 contracts, or 39.6%, to 65,111 from 46,638 the previous week.
At the same time, commercial traders also lifted their net short corn position by 8,799 contracts, or 2.97%, to 305,136 from 296,337.
The CFTC reported that managed money arrived at its new corn position by liquidating 537 long positions and adding 18,936 short positions while unwinding 37,795 spread positions. This left them representing 14.8% of total long open interest and 20.1% of total short open interest.
Commercials got to their new corn position by liquidating 36,741 long positions and covering 26,942 short positions, leaving them in control of 22.9% of total long open interest and 47.6% of total short open interest.
The CME Group said total open interest during the CFTC week rose 113,761 contracts, or 9.20%, to 1.351 million from 1.237 million.
During the CFTC week, the most-active Mar corn contract slid sideways across a consolidation zone before falling sharply on Tuesday. The contract closed Tuesday at $3.49 a bushel, down from $3.59 the previous week.
CASH CATTLE MARKETS QUIET
After selling in the Superior auction Wednesday at an average of $112.48 per cwt, in a range of $112.75 to $114.25 in the south and at $110 to $113.25 in the north, cash action got underway at $113.25 to $115.50 on a live basis. Dressed-basis trading was reported at mostly $175.
The previous week cattle sold at mostly $112 per cwt live and $170 dressed.
The USDA’s choice cutout Friday was $0.79 per cwt lower at $189.72, while select was off $0.23 at $172.70. The choice/select spread narrowed to $17.02 from $17.58 with only 50 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Thursday was $131.04 per cwt, up $0.53. This compares with Friday’s Jan settlement at $124.60, down $3.17.