Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was limited on light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Live sales were steady with the prior week at $114/cwt. in the Southern Plains. There were a few live sales at $114 in Nebraska and a few in the western Corn Belt at $115, but too few to trend.
Prices last week were $113-$114 in Nebraska on a live basis and at $112-$115 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was at $180.
Cattle feeders offered 1,518 head of Southern Plains steers and heifers in Central Stockyards’ special Fed Cattle Exchange auction on Thursday. Of those, 737 head sold (5 lots), via live weight and Bid-the-Grid for $114/cwt. The exception was 41 head bringing $113.75.
Cattle futures closed mixed but mostly lower Thursday, pressured again by supply chain disruptions and uncertainty about post-storm impacts. Positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report also could have been in play.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 70¢ lower (17¢ to $1.22 lower), except for an average of 32¢ higher in the back three contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 48¢ lower, except from unchanged to an average of 8¢ higher in three contracts.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.34 higher Thursday afternoon at $238.85/cwt. Select was $1.83 higher at $227.47.
The average dressed steer weight the week ending Feb. 6 was 919 lbs., which was 1 lb. lighter than the previous week but 16 lbs. heavier than the same time a year earlier, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight of 848 lbs. was 5 lbs. lighter week to week but 14 lbs. heavier year over year. Total fed cattle slaughter for the week of 509,053 head was 16,884 head more than the same week last year.
Corn futures closed mixed, mostly from 1¢ lower to 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 6¢ to 8¢ lower through the front four contracts, then 2¢ lower to mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday, pressured in part by discouraging jobs data.
Initial weekly unemployment insurance claims for the week ending Feb. 13 increased by 13,000 to 861,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was more than the trade expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 119 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 17 point lower. The NASDAQ was down 100 points.
U.S. beef and veal exports for fiscal year (FY) 2021 are projected to be $7.4 billion, according to the latest quarterly Outlook for U.S. Trade report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The forecast is $300 million more than the November estimate, mostly on increased unit values. The total would be $756 million more than FY 2020.
Total FY 2021 U.S. livestock, dairy, and poultry exports are forecast $300 million more than the November projection at $32.6 billion.
Total FY 2021 U.S. agricultural exports are forecast $5 billion more than the November projection at $157.0 billion, driven by higher oilseed and grain export forecasts.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic remains the defining variable impacting economic growth for countries around the globe,” say ERS-FAS analysts. “The success of both economic relief programs and vaccination deployments is expected to shape the growth rates and extent of recovery in FY 2021. Several new variants of the virus pose concerns for prolonged economic setbacks, but widespread distribution of vaccines has the potential to provide a buffer against further economic disruption. Global gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow 5.5% in FY 2021. Containing the pandemic, restoring consumer confidence, and boosting consumption levels are essential to advancing growth.”
For perspective, those analysts note global GDP last year declined by about 3.5%.
“The impact of wide-ranging adaptations in monetary policy and shifts in international trade flows due to the pandemic have had notable impacts on foreign exchange rates over the last 14 months,” says ERS-FAS analysts. “The initial outbreak of COVID-19 caused a flight of currency toward the U.S. dollar, leading to its dramatic appreciation in early 2020. As the outbreak steadied, and interest rates on U.S. Treasuries remained low relative to government debt from other currency safe havens, particularly the European Union’s Euro, the dollar has depreciated steadily since April…The recent currency trend of a weakening U.S. dollar relative to the Japanese yen, Euro, and Chinese renminbi yuan is expected to continue into 2021 but moderate as the year progresses.”
U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2021 are forecast at $137.5 billion, up $500 million from the November forecast, led by increases in livestock, dairy, and poultry imports.