us meat stocks report

  1. blt
    164 Posts.
    Cattle prices down again, gold shines
    AAP News
    9:49:020 30/12/2003
    CHICAGO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Cattle prices fell sharply on
    Monday for a third consecutive trading session as fallout from
    the first U.S. case of mad cow disease continued to roil the $27
    billion cattle industry.
    In other featured commodity trade, gold and silver rose to
    new multiyear highs as the U.S. dollar plumbed new lows against
    the euro. Oil prices closed lower amid mild weather.
    At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, cattle contracts for
    delivery in December through April all fell an expanded
    5.00-cents per pound daily trading limit on Monday.
    February cattle closed at 81.175 cents, down more than 10
    percent since U.S. officials announced on Dec. 23 the diagnosis
    of deadly mad cow disease in a 6-1/2-year-old Holstein dairy cow
    in Mabton, Washington.
    Since last week's news of the discovery of mad cow disease,
    or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), U.S. officials have
    recalled 10,000 lbs (4,536 kgs) of beef.
    Meat from the infected cow and 19 others slaughtered on Dec.
    9 was shipped to eight states and Guam.
    BSE's human equivalent, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease,
    has been linked to consumption of BSE-tainted cattle products.
    The ailment, caused by misshaped proteins called prions,
    destroys neural tissue and has killed 137 people, mostly in
    Britain where BSE devastated the food industry in the 1980s.
    USDA officials said on Saturday the infected cow had
    probably been imported from Canada in August 2001.
    U.S. beef industry officials had called for nearly two dozen
    other countries to lift their bans on U.S. beef imports after
    the USDA announcement on Saturday. But Japan, the largest market
    for U.S. beef exports, refused on Monday.
    The United States exports about 10 percent of the 27 billion
    pounds of beef it produces annually, and the concern is that the
    loss of export markets will divert beef into domestic channels,
    creating excess supply.
    So far, U.S. domestic consumer demand for beef appeared to
    be holding up. Fast-food giants McDonald's, Burger King and
    Wendy's said hamburger sales were steady over the last week.
    "I think the market is getting some good news. McDonald's
    and Wendy's said that sales over the weekend were not affected
    by mad cow. There was some concern this would affect consumer
    demand for beef, and this alleviates that somewhat," said Dan
    Vaught, livestock analyst with A.G. Edwards and Sons Inc.
    "The idea the cow may have come from Canada may have
    encouraged people to buy the market," Vaught added.
    At the COMEX in New York, gold closed at a nearly eight-year
    peak and silver hit 5-1/2 year highs as the dollar plummeted.
    Gold for February delivery closed $2.50 higher at $415.30 an
    ounce. Futures are expected to test the February 1996 highs
    around $417.50 with all indications the dollar will continue to
    plunge vs. the euro, increasing the bullion buying power from
    Europe for dollar-denominated metals.
    The euro rose as high as $1.2511 to a new record before
    easing back slightly on Monday afternoon. The euro has gained
    more than 19 percent against the greenback this year, with the
    price of gold up about 18 percent in the same period.
    "I think the dollar is going to be the critical driver when
    it comes to the gold price," said Bernard Hunter, director of
    precious metals marketing at ScotiaMocatta in Toronto. "But
    pushing up toward $420 in gold is resistance, and I would expect
    to see plenty of selling in front of that."
    February silver rose 13.7 cents an ounce to $5.926.
    At the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil prices closed
    lower as weather forecasts for mild winter conditions fed
    selling in markets thinned by holiday absences.
    "We're lower on warm weather and no terrorist attacks," said
    Mike Fitzpatrick, an analyst at Fimat USA, referring to
    heightened U.S. security alerts last week at Christmas.
    NYMEX February crude oil fell 46 cents at $32.40 a barrel.
    In London, February Brent crude rose 25 cents at $29.31.
    Private forecaster Meteorlogix forecast temperatures in the
    U.S. Northeast, the world's largest heating oil consumer, to be
    5 to 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) above normal on Monday and Tuesday
    and to stay near to above normal for the next 10 days.
    NYMEX January heating oil fell 0.95 cent at 90.13 cents a
    gallon. NYMEX January gasoline fell 0.27 cent to 91.16 cents.
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