Negotiated cash fed cattle trade on Thursday continued $1 higher than last week in the Southern Plains at $120/cwt. Live prices were steady to $1 higher in Nebraska at $119-$120 and steady in the beef at $190.
Near term, increased slaughter numbers and heavier carcass weights year over year, magnified by the mostly open winter so far are keeping a firmer seasonal lid on wholesale beef prices. The average steer carcass weight the week ending Feb. 8 was 903 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was 6 lbs. more than the previous week and 18 lbs. more than the same week a year earlier. The average dressed heifer weight of 834 lbs. was 1 lbs. more than the previous week and 12 lbs. more than the same week last year.
Weaker outside markets amid the daily up and down tied to novel coronavirus also helped pressure Cattle futures Thursday.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.03 lower (70¢ to $1.65 lower), but still higher week to week.
Except for 2¢ higher in spot Mar, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 78¢ lower.
Analysts surveyed by Urner Barry and reported by the Daily Livestock Report expect to see January feedlot placements 1.9% more than the previous year, in Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report. They anticipate January marketings to be 1% more and the Feb. 1 on-feed inventory to be 2.4% more.
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and steady on Select with light to moderate demand and heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.07 lower Thursday afternoon at $204.50/cwt. Select was 16¢ lower at $201.60.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday, presumably on profit taking and vacillating concerns about novel coronavirus..
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 128 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 12 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 66 points.
USDA projects U.S. beef and veal export value for the current fiscal year (FY) 2020 at $7.5 billion, in the quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade—released Thursday—from the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). That’s $100 million less than the November estimate but would be $200 million more than FY 2019. Analysts explain the reduced quarter-to-quarter estimate is based on slightly higher expected prices unable to offset what’s expected to be a slight reduction in volume.
“Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are forecast up $500 million from the November projection to $32.4 billion as stronger demand for poultry and products, dairy, and variety meats more than offsets declines for beef,” say ERS-FAS analysts.
Overall, U.S. agricultural exports are projected $500 million more for FY 2020, compared to the November forecast, with increased soybean, wheat, and poultry export forecasts more than offsetting reductions in corn and soybean meal. The estimated $139.5 billion this fiscal year would be $4 billion more than last year, when trade wars and issues disrupted export flows.
“Exports for China are raised $3.0 billion from the November forecast to $14.0 billion, largely based on higher projected volumes for soybeans,” say ERS-FAS analysts. “The current outlook for exports to China is tempered by significant uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak (novel coronavirus), which may affect the timing of China’s purchases under the Phase One Agreement during the calendar year.”
Despite novel coronavirus, ERS and FAS left expectations for world per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth little changed. However, those analysts explain, a slowdown across the Eurozone, declining growth rates in China and the damaging global impact of novel coronavirus is expected to dampen growth prospects worldwide.