Weak packer margins and a stiff premium of futures to cash may be seen as limiting factors short-term. Traders have seen a fairly bullish tone for cash markets this week and for January as a whole due to rising beef prices and the outlook for tightening supply. The emergence of another 35 tenders for delivery may be seen as a slight negative for the February contract today.
Average dressed steer weights for the week ending December 22nd came in at 873 pounds, down from 880 the previous week but still up 3.2% from a year ago. The previous week's average was a record high, but snow must has slowed weight gains. While slaughter for this same week was down 2% from the previous year, heavy weights cased beef production to come in at 503.9 million pounds, up 1.45% over year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up $1.44 at mid-session yesterday and closed 97 cents higher at $194.91. This was up from $194.24 the prior week and wass the highest the cutout had been since December 12th.
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