After early follow-through pressure, Cattle futures bounced higher on Wednesday, supported by light trade volume, clarity regarding the recently confirmed case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy, as well as some steady money paid for fed cattle.
Although only 708 head sold out of the 2,912 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction, those that did brought steady money with the prior week’s sale, and steady money to $2 lower compared to the bulk of last week’s negotiated sales.
Most of the cattle selling were for delivery at 1-9 days; they brought a weighted average of $118.27. Another handful for delivery at 1-17 days brought a weighted average price of $118.00
Country trade got underway in Nebraska with light demand on light to moderate trade. Live sales were steady to $2 lower at $118/cwt.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.78 higher ($1.17-$2.20 higher).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.52 higher ($2.17 to $2.90 higher).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 32¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $207.73/cwt. Select was 24¢ higher at $195.49
Mostly positive quarterly earnings reports boosted major U.S. financial indices to a higher close on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 66 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 13 points higher. The NASDAQ closed 40 point higher.
“As carcass weights increase seasonally and slaughter is expected to be above year-earlier, Choice beef supplies are expected to increase. Anticipated lower seasonal demand for middle meats will likely put additional pressure on the wholesale price of Choice beef in the coming weeks,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.
ERS analysts note that commercial cattle slaughter in May (reported in June) was 237,300 more than the same time a year earlier, while carcass weights for steers and heifers were 25 lbs. less. At the same time, the percentage of Choice-grading carcasses was higher year over year.
“It would appear that strong demand for Choice beef helped pull the spread between wholesale prices of Choice and Select beef to historic levels,” ERS analysts say. “The spread has narrowed considerably in the last week, and demand for grilling-type cuts will likely diminish post-July 4th. The USDA-AMS report on beef production under Federal Inspection for the week ending June 24 indicates that average dressed weights for cattle have rebounded above 800 lbs. for the first time since early April.”