Market News

Hog, cattle futures lower on profit-taking

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day mostly lower on spread trade and profit-taking.  Feeder cattle were mostly lower on the same factors with additional pressure from the day’s modestly higher move in corn.  April live cattle closed $2.30 higher at $108.45 and June live cattle closed $.70 lower at $96.32.  March feeder cattle closed $1.85 higher at $132.07 and April feeder cattle closed $1.35 lower at $!28.72. 

A light to moderate trade has developed across the three major feeding areas.  Live deals are ranging from $118 to $120, mostly at $120, which is about $10 higher than last week’s weighted averages.  There are a few dressed deals reported in Nebraska at $190, $17 higher than last week’s weighted averages basis (some of those are marked for delayed delivery).  Asking prices are firm at $125 live in the South and $195 dressed in the North. 

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, due to last week’s limited offering, there were few comparisons made.  Feeders did sell with sharply higher undertones.  On the few comparable sales, cattle this week were $7 to $15 higher with spots of $20 higher.  Receipts were up on the week.  Feeder supply included 79 percent steers and 88 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 772 to 778 pounds brought $141 to $158.35 and feeder steers 812 to 826 pounds brought $143.60 to $151.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 659 to 695 pounds brought $139.25 to $144.50. 

Boxed beef closed lower to sharply lower on light to moderate demand and offerings.  Select and Choice rib and chuck cuts firm to higher.  Choice round cuts lower while select was higher.  Choice loin cuts were higher while Select was lower.  Choice closed $1.01 lower at $255.30 and Select closed $2.39 lower at $243.09.  The Choice/Select spread closed at $12.21.    

Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – even on the week and up 1,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower on profit-taking, the weaker cash trade, lower wholesale values, and position squaring ahead of what could be a bearish Hogs and Pigs report.  April lean hogs closed $.57 lower at $65.85 and May lean hogs closed $.75 lower at $65.12. 

Cash hogs ended the day steady to weak with strong negotiated numbers.  Supplies of ready barrows and gilts is ample and that’s helping packers move big numbers.  That’s needed to keep up with demand at the grocer level.  Packers are also likely trying to keep ahead of the ballgame out of an abundance of caution should a production plant be shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. Domestic demand has remained strong, that’s helping to keep prices supported.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.19 lower with a base range of $53.50 to $62.50 for a weighted average of $59.50; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.44 lower for a weighted average of $59.87; the Western Corn Belt closed $.43 lower for a weighted average of $59.50.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $40. 

Pork values closed sharply lower – down $3.02 at $79.03.  Butts dropped $18 today, bellies closed $12.52 lower.  Rubs and picnics were also lower.  Loins were sharply higher.  Hams closed firm.  Estimated hog slaughter is 498,000 head – even on the week and up 12,000 on the year. 

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