Cattle futures closed mixed to lower Thursday with pressure from Lean Hogs, as well as likely profit taking and position squaring heading into the long weekend; futures and equities markets are closed in observance of Good Friday.
Except for $1.17 higher in spot Apr and 20¢ lower in the back contract, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.42 lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 33¢ lower in four contracts to an average of 77¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were firm on Choice and lower on Select with light to moderate demand and heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 33¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $222.67/cwt. Select was $4.20 lower at $207.57.
The average dressed steer weight for the week ending Mar. 28 was 891 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was 7 lbs. lighter than the previous week, but 26 lbs. heavier than a year earlier. The average dressed heifer weight was 825 lbs., which was 11 lbs. lighter than the previous week, but 19 lbs. heavier than the prior year.
Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 9¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday with the Federal Reserve announcing it will provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy.
“Our country’s highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus,” explained Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell. “The Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible.”
According to the Fed, funding will assist households and employers of all sizes and bolster the ability of state and local governments to deliver critical services during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 285 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 39 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 62 points.
USDA reduced expected commercial beef production for this year to 27.4 billion lbs., in the latest monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).That was 255 million lbs. less than the previous month’s estimate but would be 294 million lbs. more than the prior year.
“The beef production forecast is reduced as lower expected steer and heifer slaughter more than offsets higher cow slaughter. However, beef production declines are partially offset by heavier carcass weights,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). “Total red meat and poultry production for 2020 is reduced from last month as sectors at all levels adjust to COVID-19 and economic uncertainty.”
Total red meat and poultry production for this year is estimated at 108.3 billion lbs., which is 1.1 billion lbs. less than the prior month’s projection, but would be 3.0 billion lbs. more than last year.
USDA reduced the estimated annual fed steer price by $3.50 to $111/cwt. It was $116.78 last year. The average fed steer price is projected to be $105 in the second quarter, $109 in the third quarter and $112 in the fourth quarter.