Cattle futures, continued to lose ground Thursday amid light demand, continued declines in open interest and concerns about beef demand relative to growing supplies.
For the week ending Mar. 14, the average dressed steer weight was 2 lbs. lighter than the previous week at 901 lbs., but 36 lbs. heavier than the a year earlier, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight of 835 lbs. was 5 lbs. heavier than the previous week and 30 lbs. heavier than the prior year.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.56 lower ($1.92 lower at the back to $3.00 in spot April).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.45 lower ($1.27 lower in expiring Mar to $4.50 lower at the back of the board).
Wholesale beef values were lower on light demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.73 lower Thursday afternoon at $253.57/cwt. Select was 92¢ lower at $242.17.
Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.
After mostly fractionally higher to 2¢ higher through Jan ‘21, Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply higher Thursday, on the heels of the U.S. Senate passing a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package and despite the fact that weekly jobless claims were far and away the most in U.S. history.
For the week ending Mar. 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,351 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 154 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 413 points.
You already know that agriculture is one of this nation’s critical infrastructures, with its essential nature magnified by the COVID-19 fallout. A new economic impact study released yesterday puts numbers to it, indicating one-fifth of the nation’s economy and one-fourth of American jobs are linked to the food and agriculture sectors, either directly or indirectly, accounting for a total economic impact of $7.63 trillion.
“This research helps shore up something we already knew: food and agriculture is critical to all Americans and the economic prosperity of our country,” says Dr. Barb Glenn, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. She adds that recent events are testing the resiliency of our agriculture and food system.
An example of that resilience and creativity beyond the ranch gate can be seen in helping retailers restock in the wake of the surge in consumer demand for food, water and cleaning products in recent weeks.
An ad-hoc partnership between the International Foodservice Distributors Association and FMI-Food Industry Association connects foodservice distributors with excess capacity (products, transportation services, warehousing services) to assist food retailers and wholesalers requiring additional resources.
The study was commissioned by 21 food and agriculture groups and can be found at feedingtheeconomy.com.