Weekly negotiated cash fed cattle got underway Thursday with moderate trade and demand in the Southern Plains. Prices were steady with the previous week at $128/cwt. Though too few transactions to trend, there was also light to moderate trade in Nebraska at $128, which was steady with the bulk of the previous week’s sales in the region.
Steady cash prices helped lift Live Cattle futures.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ higher (5¢ higher in spot Apr to 92¢ higher).
Short covering, apparently, and perhaps positioning ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed report helped Feeder Cattle futures gain back a fair portion of what was lost in the previous two sessions.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.52 higher (45¢ in the back contract to $2.35 higher).
Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mixed from 3¢ lower to 1¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were higher on Choice and steady on Select with moderate to fairly good demand and light offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.11 higher Thursday afternoon at $226.04/cwt. Select was 17¢ higher at $218.54.
Major U.S. financial indices sunk lower Thursday, as investors fretted over a bleaker economic outlook for European Union (EU) countries.
In a prepared press statement yesterday, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB) explained real GDP for the Euro area increased by only 0.2% in the fourth quarter last year, following growth of 0.1% in the third quarter.
“Real GDP growth remained unexpectedly sluggish in the fourth quarter of 2018, and recent indicators point to substantially weaker than previously expected activity also in the first half of 2019,” according to ECB staff macroeconomic projections for the euro area released yesterday. “While some temporary factors are likely to have contributed to the slowdown in activity in late 2018, the broad-based worsening of economic sentiment indicators across countries and sectors in recent months suggests that more persistent adverse factors have also been at play and that the underlying cyclical momentum is somewhat weaker than previously assessed.”
The ECB projects GDP growth at 1.1% this year, down from 1.7% in their previous forecast.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 200 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 22 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 84 points.
U.S. beef exports blasted through previous records for value last year, according to year-end 2018 statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Exports also achieved a new high for volume.
Beef export value last year was $8.33 billion, which was $1.06 billion more—15% more—than the previous record set a year earlier. The volume of 1.35 million metric tons (mt) was 7% more than the previous year and 5% more than the previous record set in 2011.
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter last year was also record high at $323.14, which was 13% more than the previous year and 8% more than the previous record set in 2014.
South Korea accounted for half of the $1 billion surge in beef exports. Japan, Taiwan and the ASEAN region also fueled demand growth.