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Commodities wrap-up

Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 11:14 am

Cattle prices slip lower

Cattle prices tumbled to four-month lows last week as large supplies weighed on the market. Prices for cattle plunged under $1.25 per pound Thursday as cattle producers and traders sold off their holdings. Seasonally, Lent is a period of lower red-meat demand, further pressuring prices, which are already down 7.4 percent from their January highs.

Looking forward, a potential pitfall looms for the cattle market if Congress fails to come to agreement before the March 1 deadline regarding automatic government spending cuts. If no deal can be cut in Washington, one impact could be a drastic reduction in USDA meatpacking inspectors. By law, meatpacking plants cannot operate without a USDA inspector present.

Wheat market soggy

Wheat prices were sliced to a seven-month low this week by precipitation in the Great Plains. Although recent rains and snows are not enough to break the drought, hopes for better weather caused a sell-off in wheat, dropping prices under $7.30 per bushel Wednesday. As of midday Friday, prices for March wheat had stabilized at $7.40 per bushel.

Opinions are solely the writer’s. Walt Breitinger is a commodity futures broker in Valparaiso. He can be reached at 1-800-411-3888 or www.indianafutures.com. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.