Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in Kansas and the Northern Plains through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Elsewhere, trade was mostly inactive on light demand, with too few transactions to trend. With that said, early indications point toward higher prices.
Cattle feeders offered 1,570 head (11 lots) in Central Stockyard’s weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction, all from the Southern Plains. Of those, 1,128 head (seven lots) sold for a weighted average price of $112.97/cwt. ($112.95 for steers and $113.00 for heifers). The marketing method included both live weight and Bid-the-Grid™. Country trade in the region last week was at $110-$111.
Also, slaughter steers and heifers traded $3-$4 higher in the fat auction at Sioux Falls Regional, where 128 head of Choice 3-4 steers brought an average price of $110.06. That’s at the top end of the $105-$110 paid in country trade last week.
Cattle futures closed lower Wednesday with Live Cattle pressured by the lack of cash direction and lower outside markets, while Feeder Cattle continued to adjust to the rebound in Corn futures.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 54¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 92¢ lower, from 2¢ lower in the spot contract to $1.67 lower at the back.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 66¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $229.66/cwt. Select was $1.66 higher at $218.99.
Corn futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ lower, except for fractionally higher to 1¢ higher in the front three contracts.
Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ higher through Sep ‘21 and then mostly 3¢ to 5¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Wednesday. Various analysts placed the most blame on disappointing corporate quarterly earnings. There were also growing concerns that the short-seller scourge in stocks like GameStop and AMC was inflicting enough damage on particular hedge funds to fuel negative ripples in other parts of the market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 633 points lower. The S&P 500 was down 98 points. The NASDAQ was down 355 points.
Recent data from the NPD Group (NPD) underscores how far the U.S. restaurant industry rebounded so far from the economic devastation wrought by dine-in closures and other pandemic disruptions.
Although mandated dine-in restrictions held back all restaurant segments, particularly full service, NPD researchers say consumer demand for restaurant meals, and the ability to serve the demand with a host of off-premises services enable the industry to persevere.
For instance, restaurant digital orders, were already increasing before the pandemic (+19% year over year in January 2020), but exploded through the pandemic, up 145% year over year in December, according to NPD’s daily tracking of consumers’ use of restaurants and other foodservice outlets.
Similarly, carry-out, delivery, and drive-thru were also growing before the pandemic.
Carry-out, which represents the largest share of off-premises modes, increased orders by 3% in January 2020 and by 10% in December, compared to a year earlier. Carry-out ended 2020 holding 46% of off-premises order share.
Delivery orders were 1% higher year over year in January and ended the year up 137%. Even with the triple-digit gain in orders, delivery still holds the smallest off-premises order share at 11%.
Drive-thru orders in 2020 increased from +4% year over year in January to +22% in December, ending the year with a 44% share of off-premises orders.
“Digital orders for pick-up and all off-premises modes will be a growth engine for the U.S. restaurant industry moving forward,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor. “Consumers, both new and former users, have now experienced the convenience of digital ordering, especially for carry-out and delivery, and will continue using these services long after the pandemic is over.”