Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mainly slow on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. So far this week, live prices in the North are generally $1-$2 higher at $125-$127/cwt. Price are steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $121-$122.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.55 higher Thursday afternoon at $341.63/cwt. Select was $6.61 higher at $316.41/cwt.
Net U.S. beef export sales for the week ending Aug. 12 were 11,100 metric tons for 2021, according to USDA’s weekly U.S. Export Sales report. That was 18% less than the previous week and 42% less than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Mexico.
Cattle futures softened Thursday. More than anything, pressure seemed mostly tied to weakness in outside markets and in commodities overall as fund managers assess the impact of surging COVID cases on economic growth.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ lower (20¢ to 90¢)
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 38¢ lower (23¢ to 58¢ lower)
Corn futures closed an average of 13¢ lower through the front six contracts, then fractionally to 7¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed an average of 30¢ lower through the front six contracts, then mostly 8¢ to 25¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Thursday amid volatile trade. As mentioned, pressure included surging delta COVID-19 infections, as well as fretting over when the Fed will begin tapering stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 67 points lower. The S&P 500 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 15 points higher at 14,542
Most analysts expect the monthly Cattle on Feed report, due out Friday to be neutral to friendly.
For instance, David Anderson, Extension livestock economist at Texas A&M University looks for July placements to be 6-7% less year over year.
“Over the last five years, on average, placements have tended to decline slightly from June to July with last year being the exception,” Anderson says, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets. “One area of interest in the report will be any evidence of drought-forced earlier placements out of the West and Northern Plains.”
Anderson expects July marketings to be 3% less and the inventory of cattle on feed Aug. 1 to be 1.5% less. He adds that on-feed inventory tends to decline seasonally from June to a low in September.
“The Cattle on Feed report will likely provide more evidence of tightening fed cattle numbers and beef production to begin in 2022,” Anderson says. “Beef production has been below a year ago for five out of the last six weeks. Average federally inspected steer and heifer dressed weights continue to run below a year ago, fueling the decline in beef production. It’s also worth noting that the amount of beef grading Choice as a percent of all beef graded has been below last year for about seven weeks…Tighter supplies of Choice beef is likely keeping the Choice-Select spread wider than at this time last year and wider than the five-year average.