US Cattle markets were still steadying themselves last week
after a topsy-turvy holiday season that saw cattle futures hit
price limits on a number of days, following confirmation of a
case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease,
To handle the chaotic markets, which began on 23 December,
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) implemented temporary
expanded price limits for live cattle and feeder cattle
futures. The limit down price was extended from $0.015 to $0.33
and then to $0.50 per day. That move was largely applauded by
Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) executives, who said the
quick decisions by CME officials to expand the daily price
limits allowed those in the market more room to get out.
"Rather than stick to the fixed limits like silver and gold
did in the 70's and 80's, they realised the magnitude of the
news and reacted to help the customer get out," said Lou Illes,
executive vice president with Linn Group in Chicago. "We have
not had any complaints about the exchange or the brokers at
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