There was no afternoon negotiated cash fed cattle trade summary from AMS at press time but it sounded like feedlots in the Southern Plains were holding out for more money.
In the North, through Wednesday, dressed sales in Nebraska were $8-$15 higher at $300/cwt. and live sales in the western Corn Belt were $3-$5 higher at $190. Trade in the Southern Plains last week was at $175-$180.
Wholesale beef prices continued higher. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.54 higher Thursday afternoon at $328.73/cwt. Select was $2.54 higher at $304.10/cwt.
Both Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 90¢ lower, though bullish fundamentals remain.
Corn and Soybean futures closed higher with support from expanded drought coverage in the Corn Belt. Perhaps there was also positioning ahead of Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.
Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 10¢ to 12¢ higher.
KC HRW Wheat closed 14¢ to 18¢ higher, buoyed in part by Russia’s saber rattling over the Black Sea Initiative.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday with no apparent driver behind increased investor optimism.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 168 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 26 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 133 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.07 to $1.24 lower through the front six contracts.
April beef export value per head of fed slaughter was $441.70, the highest since last July, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
However, April beef exports were 10% below last year at 111,416 metric tons, while value fell 18% to $859.5 million.
Beef exports continued to gain momentum in Mexico in April, while exports also increased to South Korea, Europe and Africa. Exports to China/Hong Kong were relatively strong in April but shipments to Japan were down significantly.
Through the first four months of 2023, beef exports were down 8% in volume (437,910 mt) and were 21% lower in value ($3.21 billion) compared to last year’s record pace.
“With U.S. beef supplies tightening, it’s difficult to keep pace with the remarkable export totals posted in the first half of 2022, but exports continue to account for a similar share of production as last year’s record,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “The rebound in travel and tourism – which is now gaining momentum in Asia – and related foodservice opportunities continue to support beef demand. In some countries we have also seen a recent easing of the inflationary pressure on consumers’ discretionary income.”