The gold market is basically struggling to decisively overcome the 600 level. Until we see that, we may see some indecision on the part of traders on how to handle the market.
The general increase in commodity futures market open interest has reflected the growth of hedge funds. And, recently, the short side of cattle futures has seen increased participation from the more traditional commodity funds, also.
The gold strength, as much as anything else, is technical in nature. The downward slide in the dollar from the early highs Friday morning, and the upward push in crude oil, can probably be cited for some of the strength in here.
It's very simple. The energy market was up real strongly. That's part of it, as people consistently make the link between crude oil prices, inflation and gold.
Several times we've seen all-time live cattle open interest records set the week before the Goldman roll begins. I expect we'll set another live cattle futures open interest record next week.
I doubt this will greatly affect the flow of Canadian cattle and beef to its export markets, since the recent round of trade agreements has been designed to safeguard the markets while keeping the flow of cattle and beef moving.
With January weather being so warm, the industry probably suffered very few death losses.
Of course, we don't know how the bird flu situation will turn out. But, I see no strong reasons we won't see a three to four dollar (per hundredweight) seasonal cattle rally in the first quarter.
Later reports suggested they (Saudi forces) foiled the (attack) attempt, but you still have crude oil up over 2 a barrel.
That could mitigate the bearish impact of a surge in placement rates, since the younger animals tend to take longer to finish, which in turn implies a wider spread of exit dates (as fed cattle) for them.