Negotiated cash fed cattle trade continued lower Thursday with dressed trade in the western Corn Belt losing another $2-$4 at $180-$183/cwt., mostly $183. For the week, dressed prices there are $7-$10 lower than last week.
Although too few to trend, there were also some live trades in Nebraska at $112-$114, another $1-$3 lower than the market established earlier in the week, which was $4-$5 lower than last week.
Lower cash prices are, of course, tied to fears about the potential impact of novel coronavirus on the global economy. Those fears continued to drive equity markets and many futures markets sharply lower again Thursday.
Cattle futures closed off of session lows, but lost plenty of ground, especially in nearby contracts.
Live Cattle futures closed and average of $1.47 lower through the front three contracts and then an average of 34¢ lower to an average of 13¢ higher, with the heaviest volume of trade since last September.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.57 lower through the front three contracts and then an average of 15¢ lower to an average of 40¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and higher on Select with light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 80¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $205.54/cwt. Select was $1.09 higher at $199.69.
Carcass weights continue significantly higher year over year, according to the latest USDA Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed steer weight for the week ending Feb. 15 was 905 lbs., which was 2 lbs. heavier than the prior week and 26 lbs. heavier than the same week a year earlier. The average dressed heifer weight of 833 lbs. was 1 lb. lighter than the previous week but 14 lbs. heavier than a year earlier.
Corn futures closed 4¢ to 6¢ lower through Mar ’21 and then mostly 2¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed fractionally higher to 5¢ higher through Nov ’20 and then mostly 1¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices plunged Thursday as fears about novel coronavirus ratcheted higher.
The latest fuel to the panic came with a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wednesday night, confirming an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 in California, in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19.
“It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States,” according to the CDC statement. “Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected.” So far there are 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,190 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 137 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 414 points.
Total pounds of beef in freezers Jan. 31 were 2% more than the previous month but 4% less than a year earlier, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report.
Frozen pork supplies were up 8% from the previous month and up 11% from last year.
Total red meat supplies in freezers were 5% more than the previous month and 3% more than the previous year.
Total frozen poultry supplies were up 4% from the previous month and up 1% from a year ago. Total frozen chicken supplies were record high for the month.