Harrington's Sort & Cull

Polar Vortex It Ain't

By John Harrington , DTN Livestock Analyst

I'm sure weather savant Bryce Anderson and his meteorological minions toss around terms like "polar vortex" with great sophistication and understanding. But speaking for the shivering masses who struggle to even spell "Fahrenheit," 2014's initial freezing blast deserves to be more succinctly described.

"Damn cold."

Maybe once blue lips thawed and frostbitten cheeks warmed, you might hear a few expanded versions of that fearful description, stuff like "somebody left the backdoor open" or "colder than a well digger's ass." But that's about it.

"Polar vortex" may go down as the first buzzword of the new year, it may momentarily burn up the blogosphere and sizzle through the hashtags of Twitter. Yet on the very first parka-free day, most of us will disregard the concept faster than an owner's manual written in Croatian.

For those of you who for some strange reason would like to securely deposit "polar vortex" into an all-too-fickle data bank, let me suggest a mnemonic device that might be helpful. Ready?

Just think of "polar vortex" as the dead opposite of the red-hot feeder cattle market. Image yourself with one hand stuck in a pail of dry ice while the other hand stirs a bucket of molten lava.

Since returning from the Christmas break, the CME cash feed index has exploded by more than $6.50, surging as high as $170.87 (i.e., as of Jan. 6) for the first time in history.

If this extremely bullish reality were depicted as a weather map, there would be multiple thick, red arrows from all regions converging in a massive, northbound front. Maybe we could get "Big Jim" Cantore to call it the "equatorial tsunami."

With no disrespect for Mother Nature, I would argue that the ongoing feeder cattle storm has more pent-up energy than a sled full of "polar vortices." Long after the rising seasonal sun consigns them to the fringes of Siberia, the stubborn troughs and jet-streams of shrinking cattle supplies on one hand and determined feedlot demand on the other will keep the threat of higher feeder prices smack-dab in the middle of the radar.

For more of John's comments, visit http://feelofthemarket.com/…



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