Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in the Southern Plains and Colorado through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Elsewhere, it was mostly inactive on very light demand.
Live prices were generally $1-$3 lower last week at $108-$111/cwt. Dressed prices were $1-$4 lower at $172-$174.
For the week:
Texas Panhandle: $110-$111/cwt. 1-2 lower
Kansas: $109-$111 1-3 lower
Nebraska: $109-$110 on a live basis; $172 dressed. Steady to 1 lower and $4 lower
Colorado: $109 1-2 lower
Western Corn Belt: $108-$109 on a live basis; $173-$174 dressed.
Through Thursday, the average five-area direct fed steer price was $109.52/cwt. on a live basis, which was $1.96 less than the previous week and $14.48 less than the same week a year earlier. The average steer price in the beef was $173.06, which was $2.96 less than the previous week and $26.01 less than a year earlier.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 45¢ lower Friday afternoon at $212.92/cwt. Select was $2.01 higher at $203.08.
Total estimated cattle slaughter for the week of 651,000 head was the same as a week earlier and 18,000 head more than the same week a year earlier. Estimated beef production for the week of 544.8 million lbs. was 22.3 million lbs. more than the previous year.
The average dressed steer weight the week of Jan. 2 of 920 lbs. was 7 lbs. heavier than the previous week and 8 lbs. heavier than the same week a year earlier, according to the USDA Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight of 851 lbs. was 12 lbs. heavier than the previous week and 19 lbs. heavier than the prior year.
Cattle futures closed higher Friday. Bottom feeding might be one of the drivers, as was stronger wholesale beef values, rising open interest and a pause to increasing Corn futures.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 93¢ higher, from 45¢ to $1.32 higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.02 higher.
Corn futures closed 2¢ to 3¢ lower through the front three contracts, and then mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 13¢ lower through the front three contracts, and then mostly 1¢ to 5¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Friday. Pressure included a more negative outlook of consumer retail sales than the trade expected. Also, increasing global movement restrictions, due to escalating COVID-19 cases, weighed on the energy sector.
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December were 0.7% less than the previous month, but 2.9% more than the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 177 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 27 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 114 points.
CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed $1.05 to $1.21 lower through the front six contracts.
“Much uncertainty continues but assuming no major new global health or economic disruptions, U.S. beef trade is expected to be supportive in 2021,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments (Jan. 11).
As reported in Cattle Current, U.S. beef exports stormed back in November, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
November beef exports totaled 115,337 metric tons (mt), up 6% from a year earlier and the most since July 2019. Export value climbed 8% year-over-year to $707.5 million.
“Demand for U.S. beef in the global retail sector has been outstanding and we expect this to continue in 2021,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Unfortunately, foodservice continues to face COVID-related challenges. We expect a broader foodservice recovery this year, especially from mid-2021, but will likely still see interruptions in some markets.”
Through November, beef exports were 6% lower year-over-year in volume (1.13 million mt) and down 7% in value ($6.9 billion). January-November muscle cut exports were 3% below 2019 in volume (883,012 mt) and 6% lower in value ($6.11 billion).
“Beef exports are forecast to be modestly higher year over year, returning roughly to 2019 levels. Beef imports are currently forecast to decrease from the 2020 spike to pre-COVID levels or perhaps a bit lower,” Peel says. “Numerous factors will affect U.S. and global beef trade in 2021 including exchange rates, continuing demand for beef in China, the rebuilding of the Australian beef industry, continuing trade tensions between China and Australia/New Zealand and Mexico’s economic situation.”