Market News

Hog futures pressured by demand uncertainty

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher watching direct cash business develop.  February live cattle closed $.37 higher at $153.92 and April live cattle closed $.42 higher at $158.05.  January feeder cattle closed $2.57 higher at $183.47 and March feeder cattle closed $1.80 higher at $185.05. 

There was another light, scattered round of direct cash cattle trade on Thursday.  Live deals in the South were at $154, $1 lower than the prior week’s weighted averages.  Dressed deals were at $247 in the North. Asking prices are holding firm at $156 to $157 live in the South and $249 dressed in the North.  Look for additional business to develop before the end of the day Friday. So far this week, deals in the North were at $247 dressed, $2 below the previous week’s weighted averages. 

At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week lightweight steers calves were sharply higher.  Steers up to 700 pounds were $3 to $6 higher, steers 700 pounds were $2 higher, and steers over 750 pounds were $2 to $5 lower.  Heifer calves and feeder cattle sold unevenly steady throughout the day.  The USDA says there was a very large crowd on hand and online bidding was active.  Flesh was light to moderate.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 62% steers and 79% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 756 to 788 pounds brought $174.50 to $189.75 and feeder steers 800 to 818 pounds brought $179 to $185.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 664 to 699 pounds brought $171 to $173.50 and feeder heifers 770 to 799 pounds brought $170.50 to $174.75. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $1.68 lower at $247.28 and Select closed $.78 higher at $220.55.  The Choice/Select spread is $26.73. Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up 4,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day lower, pressured by the weak cash trade and long-term demand uncertainty.  February lean hogs closed $1.95 lower at $84.70 and April lean hogs closed $2.07 lower at $90.75.   

Cash hogs closed sharply lower with a light negotiated run.  Processors backed off their procurement efforts following Wednesday’s huge run at much higher prices.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs and the demand picture.  Should a slow global economy put pressure on demand, the pork industry could start to see prices decline for a significant period of time. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.57 lower with a base range of $80 to $85.50 with a weighted average of $81.11; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $4.60 lower with a weighted average of $81.30; the Western Corn Belt closed $4.48 lower with a weighted average of $81.31.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $58 and $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $42 to $54.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $56 to $66.  Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $10 to $13. 

Pork values ended the day firm, up $.52 at $94.97. Bellies were sharply higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 490,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up 18,000 on the year.  Wednesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 484,000 head. 

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