Lackluster beef demand ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday and negative profit margins had packers reluctant to pay higher prices for cash cattle, however supplies remain tight and cash trade moved a dollar higher by the end of the week.

Cash trade improved last week following two weeks of downward movement as the government ended and USDA reports return. Despite the improvement last week, our panel of Monday Market experts see lower prices ahead, with this week’s trade forecasted to fall 22 cents to $131.42 per cwt.  

The Monday Market Sentiment is a forecast of the upcoming weekly cash trade (5-Area weighted average price) prices reported by the USDA. Last week’s average price improved by 61 cents to recover some of the previous two week’s losses. Last week the USDA announced that cash trade for the week ending November 15th was 131.64 per cwt.

Beef demand may dip lower for the rest of the month as consumers purchase turkey and ham for the holiday dinner. Wholesale beef prices are temporarily lower, although still near record highs set earlier this fall. Lane Broadbent, an analyst at KIS Futures, told Reuters beef retail demand will return at the beginning of 2014.

Each week the Cattle Trader Center, on behalf of Vance Publishing, awards a $100 gift certificate from Cabela's to the industry leader whose forecast comes closest to the 5-Area cash trade number reported by the USDA. The most recent winner was Marshall Jensen, Snake River.

Join our team of industry professionals to predict this week's cash trade. Click here for contest rules. Click here to register.