Negotiated cash fed cattle trade in the Southern Plains, Nebraska and Western Corn Belt was limited on moderate demand through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. In the Texas Panhandle live sales were steady to 50¢ lower than last week at $119.50 to $120.00/cwt. In Kansas, live sales traded mostly steady at $120.00. In Nebraska, a few live sales traded from $120 to $121.
Cattle futures traded mixed Wednesday. Higher Corn futures pressured Feeder Cattle once again, while steady cash helped Live Cattle tread water.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.11 lower (52 to $1.47 lower), except for unchanged and up $1.02 in the back two contracts.
Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 36¢ lower to an average of 35¢ higher.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 4¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $338.65/cwt. Select was $1.69 higher at $307.87
Grain markets were mixed on Wednesday, with corn futures getting help from ethanol demand and soybeans down across most of the board. The monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates due out Thursday will likely have plenty to say about direction for the rest of the week.
Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 13¢ to 17¢ lower through the front three contracts and then mostly 3¢ to 7¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower on Wednesday with investors apparently jittery about Thursday’s inflation reading.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 153 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 8 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 13 points.
U.S. beef exports set another new value record in April at $808.3 million, up 35% from a year ago, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Export volume was 23% more year-over-year and the fifth largest on record at 121,050 metric tons (mt).
“Looking back at April 2020, it was a difficult month for red meat exports as we began to see COVID-related supply chain interruptions, and foodservice demand took a major hit in many key markets,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “While it is no surprise that exports performed much better in April 2021, we are pleased to see that global demand continued to build on the broad-based growth achieved in March.”
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter reached a new monthly high in April at $367.45.
As for customers, April beef exports to South Korea increased 21% from a year ago and just missed setting a new value record at $182.7 million. Beef exports to China continued to soar in April, reaching a record 17,233 mt (up from just 1,367 mt a year ago). Export value to China was $130.6 million – up from $11.5 million.
U.S. pork exports built on the previous month’s record pace as well. Pork exports were the sixth largest on record in April at 269,918 mt, up 2% from a year ago. Export value was $749.2 million, up 10% and the fourth highest on record.
Halstrom cautioned that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a major concern for the U.S. meat industry, adding uncertainty to the business climate in many export destinations. Logistical challenges, including container shortages and ongoing vessel congestion at many U.S. ports, also present significant obstacles for red meat exports.
“While conditions are improving in many key markets, the COVID impact is the most intense it has ever been in Taiwan and heightened countermeasures are also in place in Japan and other Asian countries,” Halstrom explains. “But foodservice activity is climbing back in our Latin American markets and retail demand – both in traditional settings and in e-commerce – has been outstanding and USMEF continues to find innovative ways for the U.S. industry to capitalize on these opportunities. We are also working with ag industry partners and regulatory agencies to find ways to improve the flow of outbound cargo, which is essential to maintaining export growth.”