Managed Money Boosts Live Cattle Long Positions

Managed money’s net long position in live cattle futures rose in the latest week through a combination of fresh buying new long positions and light covering of short positions, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.

In its weekly Commitments of Traders report for the week ended Tuesday, the CFTC said managed money, or large speculators, held a net long position of 68,690 live cattle contracts, up 3,102, or 4.73%, from 65,588 the previous week.  This was the largest net long position for them since the week ended Jan. 20 when it was 70,319 contracts.

To get there, the funds purchased a net 2,503 contracts and covered a net 599 short positions, leaving their long positions representing 31.5% of total long open interest, while their short position represented 5.9%.

During the latest reporting week, commercial traders, those who actually handle the cattle, increased their net short positions to 121,188 contracts, up 10,377, or 9.36%, from 110,811 the previous week.  This was the largest net short position for commercial traders since the week ended Jan. 6 when it was 122,467 contracts.

To arrive at their new weekly position, commercial traders sold 7,988 long contracts and added 2,389 shorts, the CFTC said, leaving them representing 10.0% of total long open interest and 55.1% of total short positions.

During the latest reporting week, live cattle open interest declined 9,380 contracts, or 3.49%, to 268,609 from 277,989.

Live cattle futures tried to rise during the week but fell after a spike high.  Most-active Jun settled Tuesday at $158.80 per cwt, down $2.52, or 1.59%, from $161.32 the previous week.  In between, the contract spiked up to a high of $164.20 on Monday.




While managed funds increased their net long position in corn during the latest reporting week, they remained net short.  The CFTC said they were short by 4,471 contracts, compared with 5,962 the previous week.

To get there, managed money sold 4,651 long positions while covering 6,142 shorts.  This left them representing 13.1% of total long open interest and 13.5% of total short open interest.

Commercial traders, however, cut their net short corn positions by 15,002 contracts, or 6.86%, to 203,697 contracts from 218,699 the previous week.

During the week, commercials added a net 1,266 long positions and covered 13,736 short positions, leaving their long positions representing 23.3% of total long open interest and 38.3% of total open short positions.

Total open interest during the week rose 6,940 contracts, or 0.51%, to 1.360 million from 1.353 million the previous week.

Also during the week, the May corn contract rose 6 ¾ cents a bushel, or 1.79%, to close at $3.83 a bushel from $3.76 ¼ the previous week.  But during the week, the contract dipped and then rose again before resuming a slide.




Cash cattle markets in the Plains last week traded very lightly as packer buyers and most sellers could not agree on a price.  A few cattle changed hands at $163 to $165.50 per cwt on a live basis and at $263 on a dressed basis, compared with the bulk of last week’s action at $167 live and $265 to $267 dressed.

Wholesale beef prices were lower Friday, although they remained higher for the week.  The USDA’s choice cutout Friday was down $1.88 per cwt at $256.51, while select was off $2.54 at $249.91.  For the week, choice was up $0.94, and select was up $0.62

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Thursday was $219.68 per cwt, down $1.32, compared with Friday’s settlement of the Apr futures contract at $212.45, down $4.02.