Large commodity funds gave up some of their net long live cattle position during the week ended Tuesday, even though commercial traders extended their net short position.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission weekly Commitments-Of-Traders report Friday showed managed money, a term for large fund traders, reduced their net long position to 11,437 contracts from 13,766 the previous week, a decline of 2,329, or 16.9%. This is their lowest net long position since the week ended Dec. 1 when it was 8,356 contracts.
Meanwhile, commercial traders, those who theoretically could make or take delivery of a futures contract, extended their net short live cattle position by 1,263 contracts, or 2.77%, to 46,897 from 45,634 the previous week. This is their largest net short position since the week ended Sep. 1 when it was 50,766 contracts.
The CFTC said managed money arrived at their new net long position by liquidating 770 long positions and covering 1,559 shorts and adding 3,268 spreads. This left them representing 18.8% of total long open interest and 14.6% of total short open interest.
During the week, commercials added 407 new long positions and covered 1,670 shorts, leaving them in control of 21.7% of total long open interest and 38.9% of total short open interest.
The CME Group reported total live cattle open interest during the CFTC week rose 4,035 contracts, or 1.50%, to 272,157 from 268,122.
The most-active Apr contract made a near-term bottom during the week, dropping to a swing low of $129.37 per cwt on Friday, Feb. 12 from a high of $132.70 the previous week. The Tuesday, Feb. 16, jump to a high of $132.95 more than made up for the entire week’s decline to the low.
MANAGED MONEY EXTENDS SHORT CORN POSITION
During the week, managed money extending their net short corn position while commercials cut their net short position. The two soon could swap relative net long and short positions again.
During the week, managed money extended their net short position by 35,094 contracts, or 34.2%, to 137,563 from 102,469 to the shortest they have been since the week ended Jan. 19 when it was 163,153.
Commercial traders trimmed their net short position by 17,001 contracts, or 8.46%, to 183,851 from 200,852, the CFTC said. Their new net short position is the lowest since the week ended Jan. 19 when it was 167,018.
Managed money arrived at its new position by liquidating 5,030 longs, adding 30,064 shorts and unwinding 6,606 spread positions. This left them representing 11.3% of total long open interest and 21.1% of total short open interest.
Commercials arrived at their new position by liquidating 2,418 longs and covering 19,419 shorts, leaving them in control of 24.1% of total long open interest and 37.2% of total short open interest.
During the latest reporting week, total corn open interest rose to 1.409 million contracts from 1.400 million, the CME Group reported, a gain of 8,721, or 0.62%.
Like live cattle, prices for the most active corn contract, May, made a swing low during the latest week by bottoming at $3.58 ¼ a bushel on Friday. The top came on Feb. 16 at $3.63 ½.
CASH CATTLE TRADE GRUDGINGLY
Cash cattle markets in the Plains last week traded grudgingly $1 to $2 per cwt higher at mostly $134 on a live basis. Dressed-basis prices were around $208 to $210, $2 to $4 higher.
The USDA reported lower wholesale beef prices Friday, with choice down $1.73 per cwt at $211.66, and select off $1.12 at $208.15. The choice/select spread narrowed to $3.51 from $4.12, and there were 90 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Thursday was $158.58 per cwt, up $1.10. This compares with Mar’s Friday settlement of $155.87, down $0.60.