Fed cattle have plummeted from the low $90s to the low $80s. The April futures contract fell $13 in that timeframe. Overreactions in the marketplace are nothing new, but seasonally April should be close to our annual highs. In the last 30 days, we've seen the market move more than the average range from highs to lows on an annual basis.
If we already have lost $12/cwt., is it possible we could see the typical move of $12 from now to the summer low? If so, we could see levels many didn't expect to see until the cycle low -- just one year after posting all-time-high levels.
Certainly we have had lots of pressure from competitive meats, which has softened demand, and weights have been high. Our failure to reopen export markets weighs heavy on the market. And, as is always the case, we overshoot fundamental considerations when the market moves higher and when it moves lower.
The good news is that demand should improve as the grilling season approaches, recent weeks have seen carcass weights drop, the beef complex has shown signs of bottoming out with improved movement, and anger is beginning to replace fear. In addition to the sheer economic loss our lack of exports creates, it also creates a far more volatile domestic market. With no other outlet for our product, subtle changes in demand and supply have tended to bring about dramatic moves in the marketplace. -- Troy Marshall