DTN Livestock Midday: Export Report Tries to Encourage Livestock

Cattle feeding. Photo: ©Debra L Ferguson

It’s a tough environment for the livestock contracts as cash cattle are trending steady to somewhat lower and the lean hog market is running out of gas.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Live cattle futures would like to rally higher but that’s somewhat hard to do when the cash cattle market is drifting lower. The livestock contracts were positively energized by Thursday’s strong export report, but the market still must weigh out the current fundamental tones before it can jump to solely trading higher and relish in the market’s demand. May corn is up 2 3/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $2.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 38.56 points and NASDAQ is down 48.79 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

It’s too bad so many cattle traded Wednesday as Thursday could have supported the cash cattle market a little bit more after seeing the positive news from the weekly export report. The live cattle contracts are trying to trade higher, but with cash cattle selling steady to somewhat weaker the support to rally the contracts just isn’t there.

April live cattle are down $0.02 at $119.37, June live cattle are up $0.12 at $117.80 and August live cattle are up $0.12 at $117.02. The cash cattle market is pretty quiet following Wednesday’s trade with just a few scattered bids being offered. Bids of $114 and $180 are noted in Iowa. Nebraska has seen some bids come in at $178 and the South is noting light packer inquiry but no bids thus far.

Beef net sales of 22,600 metric tons (mt) reported for 2021 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 15% from the prior 4-week average. The three primary increases were from South Korea (6,800 mt), China (2,400 mt) and Japan (3,800 mt).

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $0.88 ($233.91) and select down $2.01 ($222.23) with a movement of 66 loads (29.26 loads of choice, 12.02 loads of select, 14.11 loads of trim and 10.75 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

It’s another lower day in the feeder cattle futures as corn prices are creeping higher. The futures are skeptical of the technical levels while fundamental support lags and the cash cattle market is steady to weaker this week. March feeders are down $0.70 at $136.30, April feeders are down $1.12 at $140.17 and May feeders are down $0.92 at $143.65. It’s unlikely feeder cattle prices throughout the countryside will improve before the week’s end with cost of gains continuing to scale higher. But demand for grass calves continues to be where the market is finding most of its interest.

LEAN HOGS:

Support throughout the lean hog futures has been hit or miss Thursday morning as the contracts try to decide if the market has much upward momentum left in this run or not. The market has had such a fruitful rally, traders are growing leery but are still trying to gauge how much long-term demand is going to be pumped into the market as China struggles to get their African swine fever issue under control. April lean hogs are down $0.02 at $87.90, June lean hogs are up $0.10 at $94.95 and July lean hogs are down $0.05 at $95.42.

The projected two-day CME Lean Hog Index for 3/3/2021 is up $0.79 at $84.06, and the actual index for 3/2/2021 is up $0.64 at $83.27. Hog prices are sharply higher on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $5.31 with a weighted average of $84.73, ranging from $75.00 to $89.00 on 5,931 head and a five-day rolling average of $79.88. Pork cutouts total 140.71 loads with 125.58 loads of pork cuts and 15.13 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $6.02, $97.43.

Pork net sales of 59,600 metric tons (mt) reported for 2021 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 68% from the prior 4-week average. The three primary increases were from China (28,000 mt), Mexico (14,500 mt) and Japan (4,600 mt).

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