Cattle prices are rebounding from a six-year low, regaining 12% over the last month.
Trading Friday near $1.08 per pound, prices have been climbing amidst general economic optimism. When consumers feel wealthier, they are more likely to spend money on steaks, which boosts demand. Meanwhile, meatpackers have been paying more for slaughter-ready animals, another signal that they are expecting a firmer beef market in coming weeks.
But, even as the market pushed into two-month highs on Friday, market participants were wary due to an impending Cattle on Feed Report.
The USDA’s monthly tally of the U.S. herd size was released after the market closed (and after our press deadline), giving everyone a weekend to sweat through until they could act on the data Monday morning. The report is expected to show the total number of cattle on feed to be 99% of last year’s level.