Negotiated cash fed cattle trade continued sluggish on Friday. Live trade last week was steady in Nebraska and the Southern Plains at $114/cwt.; steady to $1 lower at $114 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was steady to $2 higher at $182.
Sluggish cattle trade, near-term heavy fed cattle supplies and month-end position squaring all helped pressure Cattle futures Friday.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.50 lower, from 95¢ lower toward the back to $3.90 lower in expiring Feb.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.27 lower.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 14¢ higher Friday afternoon at $240.53/cwt. Select was 94¢ higher at $229.73.
Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 666,000 head was 114,000 head more than the previous week and 38,000 more than the prior year. Year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 5.17 million head is 227,000 head fewer than the same time last year. Beef production of 4.37 billion lbs. is 87.9 million lbs. less (-1.97%) year over year.
Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 9¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Friday, from the sharply lower Dow to higher tech stocks. Primary pressure continued to be investor fears about rapidly rising inflation and interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 469 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 18 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 72 points.
CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed $1.93 to $2.03 lower through the front six contracts.
“Beef in cold storage followed a fairly typical seasonal pattern in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “However, beef in cold storage accelerated more than normal the last quarter of 2020. This resulted in beef in cold storage at the end of January 2021 totaling 519 million lbs., which is the largest quantity of beef in cold storage at the end of January since 2017. This is not an unmanageable quantity of beef, but it could indicate that beef is slowly backing up in the supply chain.” He adds that recently higher wholesale beef values may suggest supplies will be easily cleared.
Total pounds of beef in freezers Jan. 31 were down 3% from the previous month, but up 6% from last year, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report.