Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained undeveloped through Wednesday afternoon, based on USDA reports. Early indications are for steady to higher prices again this week, with the expectation of a bit snugger harvest-ready supplies.
There were 525 head offered in the year’s first weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction, and no takers. Two lots of steers from Texas and Kansas were passed on at $123.00/cwt. and $124.25, respectively.
Cattle futures mostly rebounded from the previous session’s softer tones, led by Feeder Cattle.
Except for 17¢ and 32¢ lower in the front two contracts, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 32¢ higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 91¢ higher (40¢ to $1.40 higher).
Wholesale beef values were steady to weak on light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 6¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $209.50/cwt. Select was 29¢ lower at $206.53.
Corn futures closed mostly unchanged to fractionally higher.
Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher through Mar ’21 and then mostly fractionally higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, amid increasing confidence that the tensions between the U.S. and Iran are easing. For instance, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures (CME) closed $2.71 to $3.09 lower through the front six contracts.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 161 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 15 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 60 points.
Although trailing the previous year’s record pace, U.S. beef export value through November was the second highest on record, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
For January through November, beef exports were 3% less in both volume of 1.21 million metric tons (mt) and value of $7.4 billion. Year over year, November beef exports were 4% less in volume (108,662 mt) and 7% less in value ($658.1 million).
Among highlights, U.S. beef exports to Korea were on a record pace, up 6% in volume through November and up 6% in value at $1.69 billion. U.S. share of Korea’s chilled beef imports reached 62%, up from 58% in 2018. U.S. beef accounted for 51% of Korea’s total beef and beef variety meat imports and more than one-third of Korea’s total beef consumption.
Beef exports to Taiwan were also on a record pace, for the fourth consecutive year. Through November, U.S. exports to that nation were 8% more than the previous year for volume and value was 4% higher at $513.3 million.
However, reduced exports to Japan—the largest destination for U.S. beef exports—offset gains made in Korea and Taiwan.
Through November, exports to Japan were 6% less year over year in volume and 7% less in value at $1.8 billion. Tariff relief, beginning Jan. 1 provides more optimism for 2020.
“The Japanese market performed extremely well for U.S. beef in 2018, even though we were already facing a tariff rate disadvantage versus Australia,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “More competitors saw tariff rate cuts in 2019 under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which further tilted the playing field against U.S. beef. For example, Canada’s beef exports to Japan increased 57% last year. So the rate cuts Japan recently implemented for U.S. beef are long overdue, and USMEF is working aggressively with U.S. exporters and the Japanese trade to capitalize.”
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter was $307.55 in November, down 15% from a year earlier. Through November, per-head U.S. export value averaged $308.74, down 4%.