DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Weaken While Hogs Scale Upward

Cattle feeding. Photo: ©Debra L Ferguson

Trade has been mixed through Thursday’s morning as cattle contracts lack support and consequently are trading lower, but the same can’t be said for the lean hog complex.

General Comments

It’s been another day of lower trade for the cattle contracts, but China’s purchases of pork shown on Thursday morning’s export report has helped refuel some upward trade in the hog sector. Meanwhile cash cattle trade is still idle with bids on the table but feedlots letting them sit there and not getting in a hurry. December corn is up 3 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is up $8.90. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 310.78 points and NASDAQ is down 249.85 points.

LIVE CATTLE

The live cattle complex is feeling some pressure Thursday morning and the battle for this week’s cash market continues. October live cattle are down $0.22 at $106.50, December live cattle are down $0.87 at $111.07 and February live cattle are down $0.65 at $115.60. The looming concern continues to be the long-term slaughter and demand. Without eateries and restaurants pushing beef dishes as usual, packers may consider slowing slaughter speeds down as demand isn’t as clear. Throughout the countryside cash cattle trade is quiet as packers have put bids on the table of $103 in Nebraska and Colorado, and $163 dressed but feedlots aren’t overly worried about jumping to their offers. More trade is expected to develop before the week’s end as there’s only been a moderate movement in the South thus far this week.

Beef net sales of 14,300 mt reported for 2020 were down 8% from the previous week and 2% from the prior four-week average. The three primary increases were for South Korea (4,400 mt, including decreases of 300 mt), Japan (4,000 mt, including decreases of 200 mt), China (1,800 mt).

Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $0.35 ($215.03) and select down $0.91 ($203.60) with a movement of 122 loads (65.95 loads of choice, 20.98 loads of select, 6.00 loads of trim and 28.91 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE

Feeder cattle contracts are continuing their downward progression though Thursday’s trade is seeing losses mostly greater than $1.00. September feeders are down $0.75 at $139.75, October feeders are down $1.32 at $141.10 and November feeders are down $1.60 at $141.92. The resistance set at $144 remains intimidating and with so many answered questions plaguing the livestock sector, the complex is felt to trade lower until support reignites a rally or short-term demand becomes clear.

LEAN HOGS

The lean hog complex is jumping through Thursday’s trade feeling somewhat supported by the morning’s export report even though its postings would have been from before the announcement of the German African swine fever case. The market is anxious to trade higher, but it needs some answers to transpire in order to do so. How much export demand is going to develop, and when is it going to develop remain the big underlying questions. October lean hogs are up $1.37 at $66.60, December lean hogs are up $1.62 at $63.62 and February lean hogs are up $0.50 at $68.22.

The projected two-day lean hog index for 9/15/2020 is up $1.07 at $66.42 and the actual index for 9/14/2020 is up $0.80 at $65.35. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $1.67 with a weighted average of $59.33, ranging from $52.00 to $62.50 on 5,136 head and a five-day rolling of $56.51. Pork cutouts total 136.53 loads with 124.80 loads of pork cuts and 11.73 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $7.93, $91.07.

Pork net sales of 50,600 mt reported for 2020 were up 68% from the previous week and 41% from the prior four-week average. The three primary increases were for China (35,900 mt, including decreases of 200 mt), Mexico (5,900 mt, including decreases of 400 mt), Japan (3,200 mt, including decreases of 400 mt).v

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