Through Thursday, the average five-area direct fed steer price (AMS) was $104.84 on a live basis, compared to $112.68 the previous week. The dressed steer price was $166.65, versus $179.17 the prior week.
Regionally, live prices were $3-$4 lower in the Southern Plains at $104/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle and at $103-$107 in Kansas. Live trade was $5-$10 lower in Nebraska at $105-$108; $5-$9 less in the western Corn Belt at $103-$105. Dressed trade was $10-$20 lower in Nebraska at $165; $13-$15 lower in the western Corn Belt at $160-$172.
Cattle futures drifted lower on Friday amid light trade and lower cash prices.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 72¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average 88¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values closed lower, minus the steep pitch of recent weeks. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.92 lower Friday afternoon at $230.64/cwt. Select was 61¢ lower at $219.27.
Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 5¢ higher through Jan ’21 and then mostly fractionally lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday, gaining back a portion of the previous day’s steep selloff, tied to queasiness over escalating COVID-19 cases in some states.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 477 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 39 points higher. The NASDAQ closed 96 points higher.
“Considerable uncertainty remains in the U.S. and global markets going forward,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his latest weekly market comments. “While domestic protein markets continue to sort out the COVID-19 and recessionary impacts, meat trade is generally offering a much needed bright spot across all protein industries.”
Based on the latest trade data, Peel explains U.S. beef exports in April were 3.4% less year over year, but are 6.9% more for January through April. He adds that beef imports are 3.3% more year to date, compared to 2019. Also, U.S. pork exports are 35.2% more than in 2019 for January through April and U.S. broiler exports are up 7.8%.
“China continues to struggle with the impacts of African Swine Fever (ASF) and the resulting protein shortages. This is supporting U.S. protein exports,” Peel explains. He points out U.S. pork exports to China, year to date, were 458.2% more than last year. Although sparse, U.S. beef exports to China also continue to grow, up 38.7% so far this year.
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) left its forecast for 2020 U.S. exports of livestock poultry and dairy unchanged at $32.4 billion, in the latest quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.
“Strengthened demand for pork and dairy products offsets a decline for beef and poultry products,” say FAS analysts. “Strong demand from China continues to drive growth in U.S. pork exports. The beef forecast is lowered nearly $300 million to $7.2 billion as lower volumes are only partially offset by the higher prices associated with tighter domestic supplies.” Beef export last year were about $7.3 billion.