DTN Livestock Midday: Mixed Price Shifts Leave Markets Unsettled

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Limited direction is seen Tuesday morning with prices shifting higher and lower in a narrow to moderate range. The potential to keep prices hovering in current trading ranges have limited overall buyer interest.

General Comments

Mixed trade has developed across livestock trade with April lean hog trade pushing $1 per cwt higher in limited activity. The hope and expectation that any trade deal with China would spark aggressive buyer support is helping to limit pressure in the complex.

Corn futures are higher in sluggish trade. May corn futures are 1 3/4 cent lower. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 86 points higher with Nasdaq up 42 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Follow-through pressure quickly moved through the entire complex with nearby contracts steady to 20 cents lower with more aggressive pressure developing through fall contract months.

The concern that the recent announcement of increased cattle on feed will not only skew the overall supply level of beef through the rest of the year. But the growing concern is if this trend of larger placements will continue through the rest of the year, and further erode overall buyer activity through the complex.

Cash markets are undeveloped with bids and asking prices still unavailable. This is not surprising, as bids are not likely to be seen until late in the day or potentially Wednesday. Most trade will likely be pushed off to the second half of the week, and potentially Friday.

Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.54 higher (select) and up $0.69 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 64 total loads reported (41 loads of choice cuts, 9 loads of select cuts, 5 loads of trimmings, 9 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Mixed feeder cattle trade has developed with the complex a mixture of nearby verses deferred trade direction through the morning. This is holding March and April prices 15 to 67 cents per cwt higher, while all other trade is under pressure, falling 50 cents per cwt based on pressure in live cattle trade.

The underlying pressure seen Monday has slowed significantly as traders try to establish more stable market shifts due to emotions being held in check. This could add some additional moderate swings through the near future, although traders seem to look back to fundamental support through the end of the month before aggressively moving back to the complex.

LEAN HOGS:

Strong underlying support moved back into the lean hog complex with April futures sparking renewed gains with a $1 per cwt developing following a morning filled with narrowly mixed price shifts. This may continue to spark some underlying gains based on the expectation that domestic and export demand will continue to solidify through the next several of months.

But there is little if any official indication that continued sales to China will keep stimulating the market. But for the most part, there seems to be a strong expectation from all parties that this demand growth to China will help to solidify buyer activity.

Cash prices are unreported at this time on the National Direct morning cash hog report.

Cash prices are unreported at this time on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report.

Pork values continue to firm as steady to active buying is moving through the complex. Pork cutouts gained $1.10 per cwt at $81.30 per cwt with 243 loads traded. Lean hog index for 3/22 is $64.97, up $2.56, with a projected two-day index is $67.13, up $2.16.

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