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Cattle, hog futures drop on broader market pressure

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, both live and feeder cattle futures ended the day limit down on follow-through selling and broader market pressure amid ongoing coronavirus concerns.  Both will trade with expanded limits on Friday.  April live cattle closed at $100.07 and June live cattle closed at $94.20.  March feeder cattle closed at $118.82 and April feeder cattle closed at $119.02. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity looks to be essentially wrapped up for the week.  A light to moderate trade took place earlier in the week with live deals at $110, $3 lower than last week’s weighted averages.  Dressed deals were at mostly $175, $6 lower than the previous week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Asking prices for cattle left on showlists are at $110 in the South and $177 in the North. 

At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week, grass cattle were unevenly steady with feeder cattle trading $3 to $8 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate on grass cattle with light demand on feeder cattle.  Receipts were down on the week.  Feeder supply included 80 percent steers and 85 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 769 to 776 pounds brought $131.75 to $136 and feeder steers 859 to 871 pounds brought $121.50 to $126.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 656 yo 693 pounds brought $124 to $133.25 and feeder heifers 755 to 770 pounds brought $119 to $125.50. 

Boxed beef closed mixed – lower on Choice and higher on Select on light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings.  Choice closed $1.16 lower at $206.01 and Select closed $1.39 higher at $197.88.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 117,000 head – down 6,000 on the week and up 15,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day sharply lower, mostly limit down, on follow through selling and broader market pressure amid coronavirus concerns and demand uncertainty.  With additional pressure from Thursday’s awful Export Sales report.  Contracts will trade with expanded limits on Friday.  April lean hogs closed at $60.87 and May lean hogs closed at $67.20.   

Cash hogs ended the day mixed with solid negotiated numbers.  The industry continues to watch the supply and demand situation.  The availability of market-ready hogs is more than ample and slaughter runs continue at record or near-record numbers almost daily.  The industry has been cautiously optimistic that demand for US pork would see a big boost on the global market, but it appears some pessimism may be creeping back into the demand picture especially following Thursday’s Export Sales Report from the USDA.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.05 higher with a base range of $47 to $56.25 for a weighted average of $54.04; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.26 lower for a weighted average of $54.46; the Western Corn Belt closed $.29 lower for a weighted average of $54.27; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $.65 higher for a weighted average of $53.81. 

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $36 and $40.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with good demand for light to moderate offerings at $19 to $28.  Barrow and gilt prices were $1 higher with moderate to good demand for moderate offerings at $31 to $36.  Boars range from $10 to $20. 

Pork values closed firm – up $.37 at $69.19.  Loins and hams were higher.  Butts were firm.  Bellies closed weak and picnics and ribs were lower to sharply lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 496,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 44,000 on the year. 

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