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Open Interest in LC Futures Continues to Decline


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By Dennis Smith

Follow me on Twitter @denniscattle

Thursday January 30, 2020

LEAN HOGS:

After working about $1.50 higher this week, in the face of huge production, cash is called steady for today. Futures prices have dropped hard as the premium comes out of the market. The attractive basis is encouraging the commercial to cover while the spec and fund initiates a new short, resulting in very little change in open interest. Weekly export sales and shipments were excellent. Sales were large at 34,100 MT with Japan a huge buyer, booking 11,000 MT followed by Mexico booking 7,500 MT with Korea taking 5,100, Canada 3,500, China, 1,500 and Colombia booking 1,400 MT of U.S. pork. Shipments were huge at 43,600 MT with China taking a new large weekly total, shipping 18,600 MT followed by Mexico shipping 10,800 MT of U.S. pork. These numbers are impressive but theyve not translated into strong futures due to higher than expected production. The CEO of JBS/Brazil stated that China will likely import meat more aggressively in the face of the coronavirus scare for food security reasons and assurance. He went on to state in 2003/2004 China increased meat imports during the SARS outbreak. Until we see the hog carcass move higher and through $83.00 theres no reason to expect a rally to hold in futures. Eventually this should happen as supplies drop offassuming they will in about 30 days.

LIVE CATTLE:

Funds continue to exit their sizable long position in LC futures. Open interest from yesterdays lower close was down 7,600 cars. During five sessions of liquidation total open interest has been peeled back by over 41,000 cars. Perhaps more than a third of the fund long has been dumped presumably due to the expected slowdown in global economic activity due to the coronavirus in China. Please note the statement made by JBS overnight that theyre expecting China to ramp up meat imports due to food security concerns. U.S. stocks are lower this morning but theyre well off their overnight lows. Cash trade occurred late yesterday at $1.22, down $2 from last week. We started covering hedges in the June yesterday as were expecting a recovery into the spring demand season. Weve also been establishing conservative bullish option positions; nothing heroic like buying futures. Weekly beef export sales were solid at 21,700 MT with shipments also good at 16,600 MT.

For a free 30-day trial to the evening livestock wire that includes a midday pork and beef update, please send an email to: dennis.smith@archerfinancials.com

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About the author


Dennis Smith has been a full service commodity broker specializing in grain and livestock trading for over 25 years. Dennis has a wide range of customers, many of whom are grain and livestock producers. Dennis develops and helps execute hedging and speculative strategies in his Daily Livestock Wire which is prepared each afternoon exclusively for his customers.

Dennis grew up in Central Illinois before launching his brokerage career.

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