Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in the Texas Panhandle through Thursday afternoon. Elsewhere, it was limited on light to moderate demand with too few transactions to trend.
On Wednesday, live sales in Nebraska were steady with the previous week at $123/cwt. and unevenly steady in the western Corn Belt at $125.00-$125.50. Last week, dressed trade in both regions was at $196-$202.
A day earlier, live trade in the Southern Plains was generally steady at $120.
Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed Thursday with pressure from sluggish cash fed cattle sales and continued erosion of wholesale beef values. Weekly U.S. beef export sales also took a breather.
Net U.S. beef export sales for the week ending July 8 were 9,300 metric tons (2021), which was 61% less than the previous week and 44% less than the prior four-week average, according to the Weekly U.S. Export Sales report. Increases were primarily for Japan, Mexico, China, Taiwan), and South Korea.
Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed, from 25¢ lower to 43¢ higher.
Live Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 17¢ lower to an average of 9¢ higher, except for unchanged in the back contract.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.01 lower Thursday afternoon at $269.87/cwt. Select was $1.27 lower at $252.48/cwt.
The average dressed steer weight the week ending July 3 was 884 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was 1 lb. heavier than the previous week but 12 lbs. lighter than the same week a year earlier. The average dressed heifer weight of 811 lbs. was 1 lbs. lighter than the previous week and 15 lbs. lighter than the previous year.
Corn futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ lower through Jul ’22 and then 2¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ lower across the board.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Thursday, despite positive quarterly corporate earnings reports and jobless progress.
Initial unemployment insurance claims the week ending July 10 were 360,000. That was 26,000 fewer than the previous week and the fewest since March 14 last year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 54 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 14 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 102 points.
“With record U.S. beef production forecast this year, U.S. beef exports are forecast to strengthen their position in the global marketplace,” according to a special report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). “Meanwhile, lower production in Australia and tighter exportable supplies from Argentina are expected to limit the global availability of beef. For 2021, U.S. beef exports are forecast to reach a record 1.5 million metric tons (mt) carcass weight equivalent (cwe), up 16% compared to last year and 8% above the 2018 high.”
Through the first five months this year, exports to South Korea accounted for 25% of all U.S. beef export in terms of both volume and value, according to the report.
FAS analysts note that exports to China continue to grow, although they still represent a sliver of that nation’s imports.
“U.S. beef has benefited from the Economic and Trade Agreement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (also known as the Phase One Agreement), which expanded market access for U.S. beef by eliminating several long-standing non-tariff barriers,” according to the report. Through May 2021, China ranks as the third-largest U.S. market by both volume and value, surpassing both Mexico and Canada which have historically been ranked as top U.S. markets.”