DTN Livestock Midday: Hogs Show Signs of Technical Exhaustion

    Photo: United Soybean Board

    Heading into Thursday afternoon, the cash cattle market expects to see more trade but it will likely be at steady prices with the week’s trend.

    GENERAL COMMENTS:

    The lean hog complex has given up its rallying momentum for the meantime and is trailing fully lower Thursday. The live cattle contracts are trading higher amid phenomenal export demand, but sadly the cash cattle market isn’t seeing much new interest develop.

    May corn is down 9 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $1.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 274.90 points and NASDAQ is up 147.89 points.

    LIVE CATTLE:

    Live cattle futures are trading mildly higher, which comes a little too late in feedlots’ eyes as they were hoping to see stronger trade when they were battling packers on prices for this week’s cash trade. April live cattle are down $0.10 at $139.32, June live cattle are up $0.35 at $136.32 and August live cattle are up $0.32 at $137.47.

    The market had another strong export report to absorb Thursday morning, but unfortunately, it’s having little positive effect on the cash market as this week’s trading range has already been established. There’s been a handful of trade reported in Kansas at $138, which is steady with the week’s tone. Asking prices for cattle left on showlists is around $140 in the South and $223 in the North.

    So far this week, Southern live trade has been marked at mostly $138, fully steady with last week’s weighted average; Northern dressed deals have been marked at mostly $221, steady/weak with last week’s weighted average basis Nebraska.

    Beef net export sales of 27,500 metric tons (mt) for 2022 — a marketing year high — were up 40% from the previous week and 29% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were South Korea (9,000 mt), China (7,600 mt) and Japan (6,000 mt).

    Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $1.45 ($263.05) and select down $0.77 ($252.47) and a movement of 63 loads (33.17 loads of choice, 14.91 loads of select, 3.94 loads of trim and 10.73 loads of ground beef).

    FEEDER CATTLE:

    With the grain complex trailing lower, feeders are taking the opportunity to rally and are leaning into Thursday afternoon modestly higher. March feeders are up $0.30 at $156.40, April feeders are up $0.20 at $161.97 and May feeders are up $0.35 at $166.15.

    The feeder cattle contracts are constrained to a tight sideways trading range that’s well below both the 100- and 40-day moving averages. If cattlemen can get some much-needed moisture this spring ahead of grass growing weather the feeder cattle complex stands a chance at regaining some positioning.

    LEAN HOGS:

    The lean hog complex isn’t having as strong a day as it had earlier this week, which could be from technical exhaustion or the sour news of Thursday’s dismal export report. April lean hogs are down $0.10 at $102.45, June lean hogs are down $1.75 at $121.20 and July lean hogs are down $1.55 at $121.05.

    Even though cash prices are weaker, there has already been a snappy movement of 5,996 head traded — which after Tuesday and Wednesday’s big cash trades is rather impressive.

    The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 3/22/2022 is down $0.56 at $101.21, and the actual index for 3/21/2022 is down $0.03 at $101.77. Hog prices are lower on the Daily Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.98 with a weighted average of $105.19, ranging from $98.00 to $112.00 on 5,996 head and a five-day rolling average of $104.01. Pork cutouts total 151.98 loads with 131.32 loads of pork cuts and 20.65 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $2.23, $108.62.

    Pork net export sales of 23,200 mt for 2022 were down 39% from the previous week and 30% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Mexico (9,200 mt), South Korea (4,800 mt) and Japan (3,300 mt).

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