Funds Expand Long Cattle Position For Eighth Week

Commodity funds, or managed money, expanded its net long live cattle futures position for the eighth straight week to its highest level in at least a year in the week ended Tuesday.

Commercial traders, those who theoretically could make or take delivery of a futures contract, meanwhile, expanded their net short position for the eighth straight week to their largest net short position in more than a year.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly Commitments of Traders report Friday said managed money’s latest net long position was 90,333 contracts, up 2,155, or 2.44%, from 88,178 the previous week.

Commercials’ latest net short position was 132,532 contracts, up 3,181, or 2.46%, from 129,351 the previous week.

The CFTC said managed money arrived at its latest position by adding 2,938 new long positions against 783 new short positions and 2,585 new spread positions.  This left them representing 33.0% of total long positions and 3.6% of total short positions.

Commercials, meanwhile, arrived at their new net short position by liquidating 2,373 new long positions and adding 808 short positions.  This left them in control of 9.6% of total long open interest and 52.8% of total short positions.

The CME Group said total daily live cattle open interest declined 447 contracts, or 0.15%, for the week to 307,383 from 307,830.

The most-active Feb contract ended near unchanged for the week but rose to a new swing high of $118.50 per cwt, the highest since April 4, 2016, when it topped out at $118.80.




Managed money reversed direction on their investment in corn futures during the week, cutting their net short positions by 15,568, or 14.2%%, to 94,034 from 109,602.  This was after five weeks of cautious increases.

Commercial traders, however, barely reversed a two-week pattern of cutting their net short positions, raising their net short position by 1,336 contracts, or 0.57%, to 236,419 from 235,083.

The CFTC said managed money arrived at its new position by adding 13,725 long positions and covering 1,843 short positions while accumulating 5,682 additional spread positions.  This left them representing 14.3% of total long open interest and 21.8% of total short open interest.

Commercials got to where they were by adding 8,221 long positions and 9,557 short positions, leaving them in control of 25.2% of total long open interest and 44.2% of total short open interest.

The CME Group said total corn open interest rose 13,748 contracts, or 1.12%, during the week to 1.245 million from 1.231 million the week before.

During the latest CFTC week, the most-active Mar corn contract tested moving-average support by dipping to $3.47 ¼ a bushel on Wednesday, Dec. 28, but in the end rose ¾ cent, or 0.21%, to $3.55 ¾ a bushel from $3.55 the previous week.




Average auction prices Wednesday were $1.40 per cwt higher at $116.79, versus $115.39 a week earlier.  Cash cattle then traded at $116.50 to mostly $118 on a live basis, steady with the upper end of last week’s range.  Dressed-basis trades were reported at $188 versus last week’s range of $188 to $190.

The USDA’s choice cutout Friday was down $2.74 per cwt at $198.81 per cwt, while select was off $0.17 at $193.22.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $5.59 from $8.16 with 79 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Thursday was $133.31 per cwt, up $0.24.  This compares with Friday’s Jan settlement of $128.32, up $0.07.