Statement of James E. Newsome, Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
(issued Dec 23, 2003, Washington, D.C.):


"We are aware of the USDA announcement of a presumptive positive test result for BSE in a single Holstein cow on a farm in Washington State. We have been in close touch with the USDA, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ever since that report.

Any time there is an announcement of this kind, it becomes a market fundamental and you expect markets to react to fundamentals. We fully support the CME's decision to keep the Live and Feeder Cattle markets open for business tomorrow and Friday, so that they can fully process this fundamental information. Should there be excess volatility in the market, both cattle contracts have daily price limits in place to contain that volatility. And the Commission will be stepping up its surveillance of these markets over the coming days to guard against any activity of a potentially manipulative nature. In addition, it should be noted that the cow involved is not of the type that is deliverable on the CME's Live Cattle contract.

The Commission and the Exchange will continue to work closely together to allow the markets to absorb this event in as orderly a fashion as possible."

CFTC Office of External Affairs Contacts:
Alan Sobba, Director, (202) 418-5080
Dennis Holden, (202) 418-5088