Market News

Cattle futures down ahead of widespread direct trade

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle were lower with boxed beef down at midday, getting ready for the week’s widespread direct business. Fund liquidation and bearish weekly beef sales were also factors. April live was down $.65 at $164.80 and June was $.97 lower at $159.67. April feeders were $.92 lower at $199.15 and May was down $.67 at $205.47.

Direct cash cattle business was light. That trade was reported at $165 live in the south and $265 dressed in the north, both steady with last week’s respective weighted averages. Asking prices Thursday afternoon were $167+ live and $266+ dressed, with bids of $165 live and $263 dressed. There’s still likely at least some business left to be done Friday. Beef export sales were a marketing year low at 5,600 tons following small reductions by several key customers, including a net cancellation by South Korea.

Boxed beef closed lower with light movement. Choice was down $.18 at $284.60 and Select beef was $2.07 lower at $276.05, for a spread of $8.55. The estimated cattle slaughter of 124,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 1,000 on the year.

At the Clarinda Livestock feeder cattle sale in Iowa, compared to the previous week, 500 to 600 pound steers were $5 to $7 higher, with 700 to 800 pound steers and 600 to 700 pound heifers $6 to $8 higher. The USDA says the supply was moderate with several load lots available and good to very good demand for those quality, long-time weaned and green feeder calves. Receipts were below a week ago, above a year ago. 62% of the feeder run were steers and 60% of the total offering weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 500 to 600 pounds ranged from $227 to $254 and 600 to 700 steers sold at $190.50 to $220. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds were reported at $188 to $215.25 and 600-to-700-pound heifers brought $165 to $202.

Lean hog futures ended the session mixed on spread trade and the mixed cash during the session. Contracts started the session modestly higher on an oversold bounce, but that gave way to pressure from the premium to cash and fund liquation prior to the mixed finish. April was $.67 lower at $85.07 and June was up $.17 at $100.45.

Cash hogs were steady to lower with moderate closing negotiated sales for the major direct markets. It looks like many buyers have the needed near-term numbers in hand after the strong negotiated movement earlier in the week. Sustained demand for pork continues to be somewhat of a question mark. Pork exports of 22,100 tons were lower than average, Mexico and South Korea led the way, with a routine amount purchased by China.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $.44 lower with a base price range of $73 to $80 for a weighted average of $78.58, while Iowa/Southern Minnesota was down $.12 at $79.57 and the Western Corn Belt was $.18 lower at $79.43. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were $2 lower at $58. Illinois direct sows were $1 lower at $51 to $63 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $51 to $61 on moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $8 to $25.

Pork closed $.73 higher at $88.39. Ribs, hams, and bellies were modestly to sharply higher, while loins, butts, and picnics were lower. The estimated hog slaughter of 485,000 head was down 1,000 on the week, but up 12,000 on the year.

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