Chicago cattle futures soar on Russia aid rumours

By Joanna Newman

CHICAGO February futures soared 6% on last weeks figures to 65.55¢/lb (88.75p/kg) as at Tuesday (9 February) in reaction to the latest food aid to Russia rumours.

The US government is expected to ship as many as 300 container-loads of beef every week to Russia over the next three or four months, and market sources are confident that shipments will indeed kick off next month.

The beef cuts in the cargoes will comprise rounds, briskets, chucks and offal.

However, the cash market for slaughter-ready animals has responded more cautiously, with the bid-offer spread little changed at 61-64¢/lb (82-87p/kg).

The Russian hype may be overdone, analysts warn. Inventory levels in the US remain high at 98.5 million head, according to data released in late January. Producers are struggling to process the backlog of heavy cattle in the nations feedlots.

The latest monthly Cattle on Feed report suggests that the glut is slowly abating, but it will take a few more months to disappear.

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