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Higher pork values provide a boost to hog futures

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day lower on technical selling.  June live cattle closed $1.05 lower at $133.77 and August live cattle closed $1.05 lower at $136.02.  August feeder cattle closed $1.82 lower at $174.37 and September feeder cattle closed $1.20 lower at $177.45. 

A quiet Thursday for direct cash cattle trade activity.  While the bulk of the week’s business has likely wrapped up, there could be some cleanup trade reported before the end of day Friday.  So far this week, Southern live trade has been marked at mostly $140, fully steady with last week’s business.  Northern dressed deals were at mostly $232, steady with the bulk of last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Today’s Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 1,939 head offered, all in Texas.  Zero head sold.

At the Winter Livestock Auction in Kansas, compared to last week, feeder steers 700 to 950 pounds were $2 to $3 higher.  There was a higher trend noted for steers 950 to 1,100 pounds.  Steer calves 500 to 700 pounds were $8 to $9 higher.  Feeder heifers 700 to 925 pounds were $2 to $4 higher.  Heifer calves were $4 to $6 lower.  The USDA says demand was good.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 43% steers and 89% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 917 to 942 pounds brought $144 to $151.75 and feeder steers 900 pounds brought $154.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 769 to 775 pounds brought $143 to $147 and feeder heifers 810 to 848 pounds brought $140.25 to $146.50. 

Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand for solid offerings.  Choice is $4.56 lower at $255.18 and Select is $1.87 lower at $245.81.  The Choice/Select spread is $9.37. Estimated cattle slaughter is 124,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 9,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were supported by the sharply higher pork values during the session.  June lean hogs closed $1.97 higher at $107.07 and July lean hogs closed $2.37 higher at $109.42.

Cash hogs closed lower to sharply lower with fairly light negotiated purchases.  There are long-term demand concerns creeping into the market even though demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been relatively strong.  Processors aren’t aggressive in their procurement efforts, which isn’t surprising following Wednesday’s monstrous run.  All eyes are watching the availability of market-ready hogs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $4.90 lower with a base range of $95 to $111 and a weighted average of $103.57; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.69 lower with a weighted average of $110.22; the Western Corn Belt closed $.96 lower with a weighted average of $109.86.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. 

Pork values closed higher – up $2.44 at $106.27.  Bellies closed nearly $12 higher.  Ribs and hams were both sharply higher.  Picnics were firm.  Loins were lower and butts sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 478,000 head, up 2,000 on the week and down 1,000 on the year. 

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