Negotiated cash fed cattle prices were sharply lower in the Southern Plains on Thursday at $105/cwt., which was $13 less than the bulk of the previous week’s trade. For the week, established live prices in the North are $3-$4 lower than the previous week at $109-$117 in Nebraska and at mostly $110 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices for the week are steady to $10 lower at $175-$185.
Cattle futures faded the softer cash prices, though, with support including the weekly U.S. Export Sales report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Net sales of 12,300 metric tons of beef for the week ending May 28 were 7% more than the previous week and 97% more than the prior four-week average. Increased beef export sales were mostly to South Korea, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, and China.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 86¢ higher, from 27¢ higher in spot Jun to $1.12 higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average 89¢ higher, from 50¢ higher in spot Aug to $1.17 higher at the back.
Wholesale beef values continue to plunge, adjusting back to more normal fundamentals. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $23.64 lower Thursday afternoon at $272.26/cwt. Select was $16.37 lower at $260.41.
Total fed cattle slaughter for the week ending May 23 was 444,378 head, which was 51,816 head more (+13.2%) than the previous week and the most since the first week of April, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. Total cattle slaughter of 571,506 head was 52,383 head more (+10.1%) than the prior week and the most since the first week of April. Compared to the prior year, though, fed cattle slaughter was still 14.5% less and total cattle slaughter was 11.6% less.
The average dressed steer weight for the week was 894 lbs., which was 6 lbs. lighter than the previous week, but 52 lbs. more than the same week a year earlier. The average dressed heifer weight of 826 lbs. was 5 lbs. less than the previous week, but 41 lbs. heavier than the prior year.
The lowest U.S. Dollar since March supported Grain futures.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 10¢ to 14¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Thursday. Pressure included more initial jobless claims than the market expected.
Initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending May 30 were 1.88 million, which was 249,000 fewer than the previous week, according to the U.S Labor Department.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 11 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 10 points lower. The NASDAQ closed 67 points lower.
Customer transaction declines at major U.S. restaurant chains continued to improve in the week ending May 24, according to The NPD Group (NPD).
With nearly 320,000 restaurant units in the U.S. allowed to offer some level of on-premise dining, total major restaurant chain transactions declined by 18% compared to the same week last year, which represented a week-to-week gain of 25 points. That’s according to NPD’s CREST®Performance Alerts, which provides a weekly view of chain-specific transactions and share trends for 70 quick service, fast casual, midscale, and casual dining chains.
Major full service chain restaurant transactions declined by 42% versus same time last year, a 7-point improvement from the prior week’s decline.
Transactions at quick service restaurant chains were down 17% year over year, improving from the 20% decline a week earlier.
NPD’s CREST®foodservice market research, indicates total industry traffic at chain and independent restaurants was down 35% in April compared to year ago, which aligns with NPD’s weekly restaurant chain transactions tracking.
“Among the most interesting behaviors we’re seeing is the rapid escalation of using technology to engage with restaurants,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor. “Going forward, we might expect a digital divide that sets apart restaurants with well-executed digital offerings and requires those without to turn to the newfound prowess of third-party platforms.”