Sagging cash bids helped drag cattle futures prices lower Monday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
"Bids on steers were a dollar lower in many areas. That's a very sizable drop," said Bob Kuhn, a livestock analyst with Dean Witter Reynolds in Chicago.
Cattle prices are also suffering from an adequate supply and a lack of demand at the retail level. "Some may tend to discount the influence of Lent on the market, but I would not," Kuhn said.
A snowstorm that battered parts of the Great Plains over the weekend "did not prove to be the saving grace many had hoped for," Kuhn said. Analysts were predicting that the storm might disrupt feedlot operations and boost prices.
The heavy snows, however, did lend some support to cash prices for live hogs, Kuhn said. "The cash hogs were steady to a $1.50 higher because of problems related to the storm," he said.
Frozen hog belly prices advanced. "The general trade is bullish on the bellies because of the relatively short supply. It's expected to continue for the next six months," said Kuhn. He noted that the number of bellies in cold storage is about 30% less than the figure a year ago.