Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in in all major feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. In the Southern Plains compared to last week, live purchases traded $1 higher at $120/cwt.
In Nebraska, live sales traded unevenly steady at $122/cwt. and dressed sales were $1 higher at $196/cwt. In the Western Corn Belt, dressed sales traded unevenly steady at $196/cwt. while live sales last week traded from $120-$124/cwt.
Higher grain futures prices weighed on Cattle futures Thursday.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.23 lower, from 85¢ lower at the back to $1.67 lower in spot Aug.
Live Cattle futures closed just an average of 21¢ lower. Part of the support was Lean Hog futures recovering from the previous day’s slide, when there was chatter about African Swine Fever being confirmed closer to the Continental United States — it was confirmed the Dominican Republic.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.06 higher Thursday afternoon at $275.22/cwt. Select was 70¢ higher at $256.82.
The average dressed steer weight the week ending July 17 was 888 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was 3 lbs. heavier than the previous week but 11 lbs. lighter than the same week last year. The average dressed heifer weight of 813 lbs. was 1 lb. heavier than the prior week but 16 lbs. lighter than the previous year.
Net U.S. beef export sales were 22,500 metric tons (2021) the week ending July 22, according to the weekly U.S. Export Sales report. That was 11% less than the previous week but 28% more than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan and China.
Hotter, drier weather in the Corn Belt helped lift grain futures prices Thursday.
Corn futures closed 7¢ to 8¢ higher through new-crop contracts, then mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 11¢ to 16¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday, despite less robust economic growth in the second quarter than traders expected. Real Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter was 6.5%, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 153 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 18 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 15 points.
Retail food prices (food at home) are 1.6% higher year over year, for the first six months of 2021, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). That’s about equal to the pace of increase for the same periods in 2000 to 2019. Food away from home prices for the same period are 2.8% higher. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food is up an average of 2.1%.
“In addition to factors influencing prices for specific food categories, economy-wide inflation is also high and is contributing to overall price increases,” ERS analysts explain. “The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all-items, which encompasses food, housing, transportation, and other categories, has increased 2.9% so far in 2021 compared to 2020. For context, annual all-items inflation has averaged 2.0% over the past 20 years. Inflation in 2021 is already nearly 50% higher than average annual inflation only halfway through the year. Above-average inflation is expected to continue through 2022.”
ERS expects beef and veal prices to be up between 3.0% and 4.0% this year.