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Cattle futures lower on profit-taking

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day lower on profit-taking and the lack of support following last week’s steady cash trade.  Feeder cattle were lower on the same factors with additional pressure from the day’s firm move in corn.  February live cattle closed $.87 lower at $126.55 and April live cattle closed $.42 lower at $127.52.  January feeder cattle closed $1.57 lower at $146.02 and March feeder cattle closed $1.60 lower at $145.85. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity is off to a quiet start.  Showlists this week are mixed – higher in Texas and Nebraska/Colorado, but lower in Kansas.  Bids and asking prices have yet to be established.  Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the latter half of the week.

At Midsession, at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, feeder steers are $1 to $2 higher and feeder heifers are steady to $4 lower.  The USDA says demand for feeder cattle is moderate to good.  Quality was average to attractive.  Stocker steers and steer calves are $ to $6 higher and stocker heifers and heifer calves under 500 pounds $4 to $5 higher, over 500 pounds steady to $3 lower.   Receipts of 11,200 head are down from the prior week and up on the year.  Feeder supply included 63 percent steers and 70 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 654 to 699 pounds brought $143 to $155 and feeder steers 700 to 748 pounds brought $144.50 to $153.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 661 to 696 pounds brought $130 to $141.10 and feeder heifers 755 to 771 pounds brought $131 to $139.25. 

Boxed beef closed firm to higher on good demand and moderate offerings.  Choice closed $.51 higher at $210.55 and Select closed $1.68 higher at $208.23.  The Choice/Select spread closed at $2.32.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head – even on the week and up 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower, pressured by concerns about heavy supplies and long-term demand uncertainty.  February lean hogs closed $1.35 lower at $65.90 and April lean hogs closed $.75 lower at $73.37. 

Cash hogs closed steady to sharply higher with strong negotiated purchases.  Packers had to bid up in order to move their desired numbers.  The industry, overall, remains optimistic as demand for US pork is expected to increase substantially on the global market.  The market is also anxious for the signing of the phase one trade agreement with China as the details will be released after the ceremony.  But it is still worried about heavy supplies and the concern is limiting prices ability to move higher.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.13 higher with a base range of $48 to $51.50 for a weighted average of $50.55; the Iowa/Southern Minnesota closed $1.58 higher for a weighted average of $50.81; the Western Corn Belt closed $1 higher for a weighted average of $50.67.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $36. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.74 at $74.24.  Bellies closed sharply higher.  Loins, butts, and picnics were all higher.  Hams and ribs were weak to lower.   Estimated hog slaughter is 498,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 27,000 on the year.  Friday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 490,000 head and Saturday’s totals revised to 218,000 head – making the week to date numbers 2,695,000. 

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