CME Group Inc, the world's largest futures market operator, on Wednesday took emergency action to adjust trading limits for feeder cattle futures after prices plunged for five days in a row.
A CME Group committee "determined that an emergency exists and that emergency action is warranted" after futures sank by their daily trading limits for five consecutive days, the Chicago-based company said in a notice.
The slide "may have a severe, adverse effect upon the functioning of the exchange" and jeopardize the integrity of trading in feeder and live cattle futures, the notice said.
The daily price limit for feeder cattle futures will climb to $4.50 per hundredweight from $3.00 per hundredweight effective on Thursday.
Starting on Friday, the limits will be able to expand by 150 percent to $6.75 per hundredweight on any business day if one of the first two contract months settles at the daily limit on the previous trading day, according to CME, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and other markets.
Daily price limits for live cattle futures will remain unchanged at $3.00 per hundredweight. Starting on Friday, the limits will be able to expand by 150 percent to $4.50 per hundredweight if one of the first two contract months settles at the limit on the previous trading day.
"This change to daily price limits is necessary to ensure continued price discovery and risk transfer for CME Group customers," the exchange operator said in a statement.
CME will "continue to closely monitor these markets and communicate directly with our customers should additional action be required," the statement said.
A limit-down move in Chicago Mercantile Exchange feeder cattle futures on Wednesday was led by a recent plunge in cash feeder cattle prices, traders said.
Prior to late last month, feedyards actively bought young calves, or cash feeder cattle, which have been in short supply after years of drought shrunk the U.S. herd to a 63-year low.
However, futures prices sank as slumping returns for slaughter-ready cattle made it less profitable for feedlots to bring in calves, traders and analysts said.