FUTURES FILE: Cattle stampede skyward

2013-08-09T12:19:00Z 2013-08-09T17:53:09Z FUTURES FILE: Cattle stampede skywardWalt Breitinger Times Business Columnist nwitimes.com
August 09, 2013 12:19 pm  • 

Cattle prices charged to the highest price in over four months after a major meatpacker announced it would stop buying cattle that had been fed with a broadly used feed additive.

The supplement, known as Zilmax, is used to help promote weight gain in cattle. Cattle prices exploded in the wake of the announcement, climbing the exchange’s maximum 3 cents per pound, on fears U.S. beef supplies would drop in the wake of the decision.

Some traders are wary of grabbing this bull market by the horns, especially if other beef processors don’t follow suit in changing requirements. Additionally, with corn worth only $4.60 per bushel on Friday, cattle feeders may find larger profit margins in coming months, encouraging them to increase production and the available beef supply.

As of midday Friday, live cattle for October delivery were worth $1.27 per pound, up 2.5 cents (2 percent) this week.

Cocoa Market Warms Up

Cocoa prices burst to the highest price this year Thursday, pushing over $2,500 per metric ton. The market has been gaining ground recently amidst exceptionally strong demand among North American companies that buy cocoa beans for processing into cocoa powder, butter and liquor.

Further adding to the rally were weather reports from Ghana and the Ivory Coast that indicated continued dry weather which could crimp the crop size in those two nations that produce over half of the global cocoa crop. As of midday Friday, cocoa for delivery in September was worth $2,465, up $170 (7.4 percent) during the week.

Platinum Sparks Higher

Platinum prices revved up Friday to the highest price in nearly two months, reaching over $1,500 per ounce. The market was boosted by news of another miners’ strike in South Africa, home to three-fourths of the world’s platinum production. In the past, striking workers in South Africa have had major impacts on the platinum market, with global production dropping by more than 10 percent during heavy striking in South Africa.

Positive export figures from China and Germany showed optimism about the global economy as well, which helped demand for platinum. The metal is primarily used in automobile catalytic convertors, other chemical processes and jewelry production, making it a good barometer for industrial and consumer demand.

As of midday Friday, October platinum was worth $1,501, up $50 (3.4 percent) this week.

Opinions are solely the writer's. Walt Breitinger is a commodity futures broker in Valparaiso. He can be reached at (800) 411-3888 or www.indianafutures.com. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.

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