Cattle futures continued to gain Thursday with expectations of higher cash prices and softer nearby Corn futures.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 40¢ higher (5¢ higher near the back to $1.05 higher in the front two contracts).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 49¢ higher.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was light on moderate demand in the Southern Plains and Northern Plains through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few transactions to trend, there were some early live sales in the Southern Plains at $157/cwt.
Last week, live prices were $156 in the Southern Plains, $156-$157 in Nebraska and $157 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $248-$249.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 55¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $278.86/cwt. Select was $3.42 higher at $250.70/cwt.
Corn futures closed 2¢ to 3¢ lower in the front three contracts and then 1¢ lower to 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher through Sep ‘24 and then fractionally lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday. Analysts credited some of the firmer tone to more jobless claims than expected.
Initial weekly unemployment insurance claims for the week ending Dec. 24 were 9,000 more than the previous week at 225,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 345 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 66 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 264 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 56¢ to 60¢ lower through the front six contracts.
Despite economic shocks and uncertainties during the last several years, there is no strong indication that softer global economics have weakened U.S. beef demand in East Asia, according to a recent International Agricultural Trade Report — U.S. Beef Exports to East Asia on Record Pace — from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
In spite of supply chain disruptions for U.S. fresh or chilled beef, longer shipping times, and higher costs, FAS analysts say East Asian import demand for beef products should remain steady. Demand from the region was record large in 2021 (both volume and value) and was on pace to set a new record in 2022.
“East Asia’s relatively robust middle class has supported the demand for high-quality beef, and a developed e-commerce retail sector has provided flexible avenues for suppliers to promote beef products during the pandemic,” according to the report.