Market News

Hog futures lower on follow-through selling

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day lower on technical pressure, waiting for direction from this week’s cash trade.  Feeder cattle were sharply lower on the same factors.  February live cattle closed $2.60 lower at $122.25 and April live cattle closed $3.00 lower at $121.30.  March feeder cattle closed $4.50 lower at $135.17 and April feeder cattle closed $4.50 lower at $138. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity started the week quietly.  Bids and asking prices have yet to surface.  Showlists this week are mixed – lower in Kansas and Texas and higher in Nebraska/Colorado.  It’s likely significant trade volume will be delayed until at least midweek. 

At Midsession, at the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to last week steers under 550 pounds were steady, over 550 pounds were $4 to $6 lower, heifers under 600 pounds were steady to $3 higher, and over 600 pounds $2 to $3 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good for light calves, moderate to light for heavy calves and yearlings.  Supply was moderate.  Receipts of 4,500 head were down on the week and the year.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 450 to 499 pounds brought $157 to $197.50 and feeder steers 652 to 698 pounds brought $137 to $145.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 554 to 597 pounds brought $133 to $145 and feeder heifers 607 to 645 pounds brought $130 to $136. 

Boxed beef closed steady to weak on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings.  Choice closed $.90 lower at $214.59 and Select closed $.20 lower at $210.50.  The Choice/Select spread closed at $3.09.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – even on the week and up 3,000 on the year. 

Lean hogs closed lower on follow-through selling, demand concerns linked to China, and lower to sharply lower cash trade during the session.  February contracts closed $1.27 lower at $65.90 and April lean hogs closed $3.00 lower at $70.45. 

Cash hogs closed firm to higher with solid negotiated purchases.  Packers had to bid up to move their desired numbers.  The cash market is still cautiously optimistic as it waits to see demand for US pork grow significantly on the global market.  If more pork begins to move, prices will likely push consistently higher.  The industry is also watching African swine fever in Europe as more cases have been reported recently in Poland, this is of interest because neighboring Germany is currently a large exporter of pork to China.  The spread of coronavirus in China is also contributing to short-term demand uncertainties. Barrows and gilts closed $1.16 higher at the National Daily Direct with a base range of $48 to $53 for a weighted average of $53.86; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.45 higher for a weighted average of $54.38; the Western Corn Belt closed $.91 higher for a weighted average of $54.33.  The Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices in Dorchester, Wisconsin are steady at $36 and $5 lower at $30 in Garnavillo, Iowa.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 to $2 higher with moderate to good demand for heavy offerings at $13 to $22.  Barrow and gilt prices were $1 to $2 higher with moderate to good demand for moderate offerings at $30 to $37. 

Pork values closed steady – down $.12 at $77.26.  Picnics were lower.  Bellies were weak.  Hams, butts, and loins were steady to firm.  Ribs closed higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 498,000 head – up 87,000 on the week and up 26,000 on the year.

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