Miracle on LaSalle Street

As commodities traders were shutting markets down early on Christmas Eve, it was the cattle producers that got an early present. After making a three-year low last week, cattle prices rebounded by 13 cents per pound (+11%) to finish near $1.30 per pound on Thursday.

The market is feeling jolly after a slew of bullish news. Congress repealed a controversial law requiring meat to be labeled by country of origin, which should help the US export more beef & pork, while a recent government report showed a tighter-than-expected national cattle supply. Meanwhile, a winter storm is bearing down on the Great Plains, which could force ranchers to hold off on shipping cattle, further restricting supply.

Some cattle market followers are hoping that this week marked the end of the cattle collapse, leaving them dreaming of positive profit margins, just like the ones they used to know.