Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was undeveloped through Thursday afternoon.
Month-end positioning appeared to be the primary pressure on cattle futures Thursday. For the short term, there was also chatter about this week’s extreme cold dampening consumer demand across impacted areas.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.36 lower.
After 27¢ lower in expiring Jan, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.38 lower.
Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ lower through Jul ’20 and then 1¢ to 2¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and steady on Select, with light to moderate demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.66 lower Thursday afternoon at $215.39/cwt. Select was 12¢ lower at $212.88.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly higher Thursday, buoyed by strong quarterly earnings reports and spillover support from the steep increases in the previous session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 15 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 23 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 98 points.
Although increasing cattle supplies will likely pressure cattle prices across all sectors this year, Kevin Good, CattleFax analyst says robust economic demand, U.S. job growth and higher wages will remain supportive.
“The relatively strong calf market we saw in 2018 will be under pressure this year,” explained Good, at Thursday’s CattleFax Outlook Seminar in New Orleans. “However, values in the spring should have the potential to reach the mid-$180s. On the other hand, a larger calf crop and softer demand have the potential to erode prices to the $140-level next fall, so there is certainly more price risk in feeder cattle and calves than in the fed cattle markets in 2019.”
CattleFax projects 750 lb. steer prices at $130-$160/cwt., with an average at $147/cwt.
Fed cattle prices are expected to be steady this year, averaging $117/cwt., with market resistance at the $130-level and downside risk to $100/cwt. at the low end of the trading range, according to Good.
As for cull cows, Good says, “Years of expansion and poor operating margins in the dairy sector are generating more cull cows, which weighs on the markets. The additional supply and the limited packing capacity for non-fed cattle will result in a market which averages approximately $55/cwt. during 2019, with a spring high near $60/cwt. and a fall low in the lower $40s.”
Look for more insights from the CattleFax Outlook in Monday’s Cattle Current