Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Live prices last week were $3 higher in the Southern Plains at $120, mostly $5 higher in Nebraska at mostly $123, $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $123-$125 and at $120-$123 in Colorado, where there was no established market the previous week. Dressed prices were $5 higher in Nebraska at $195 and $6-$7 higher in the western Corn Belt at $195-$196.
Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed on Monday, firming after the profit-taking selloff that ended last week. Lower front-month Corn futures prices added support.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 31¢ lower, except for an average of 9¢ higher in three contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 32¢ higher, except for 25¢ lower in spot Apr.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 76¢ lower Monday afternoon at $271.41/cwt. Select was $2.09 higher at $266.16.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 8¢ lower through the front three contracts and then mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 21¢ lower through the front six contracts, and then mostly 5¢ to 9¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed slightly lower Monday, but basically tread water as investors await key inflation data and the beginning of quarterly corporate earnings reports this week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 55 points lower. The S&P 500 closed fractionally lower. The NASDAQ was down 50 points.
Although COVID disruptions continue to hamper U.S. beef exports, in terms of year-over-year performance, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University points out they were 15.6% more for volume last year, compared to five years earlier.
“Beef exports have evolved significantly in recent years, in a very dynamic environment of global politics and trade policies, direct and indirect impacts of animal disease outbreaks and growing beef preferences and consumption,” Peel explains, in his weekly market comments.
Japan and South Korea continue to be key, growing market destinations.
“Japan has been the largest U.S. beef export market since 2013 (and was for many years prior to 2004), with the 2020 market share at 28% of total exports,” Peel says. “Beef exports to Japan grew at an average rate of 9.7% annually from 2016 to 2020 with peak exports in 2018 and a decrease in 2019 before rebounding modestly in 2020, despite pandemic disruptions.”
South Korea became the second largest U.S. beef export market in 2016. It continues to be the fastest, most consistently growing U.S. market, according to Peel.
“Beef exports to South Korea have increased by an average of 17.4% in the last five years, pushing the country to a nearly 23% market share in 2020, just behind Japan,” Peel says. “In fact, in the first two months of 2021, beef exports to South Korea are up 15.1% percent year over year, pushing South Korea just ahead of Japan as the number one beef export market so far this year.”
Consider China and Hong Kong together—essentially a single market—and it represents the third largest U.S. beef export market, accounting for 11.5% of market share last year, Peel says.
Considering countries separately, however, Mexico is currently the third largest export market for U.S. beef. Peel explains U.S. beef exports to Mexico declined 24.7% year over year in 2020, pressured by that nation’s faltering economy and pandemic impacts.