Sluggish trade and rising grain prices helped pressure Cattle futures Tuesday. Arguably, most of the pressure on the grain side comes from the uncertainty about ultimate planting reality and potential production, which makes it tough to project breakevens with much confidence.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 34¢ lower.
Except for 22¢ higher in spot May, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.59 lower.
Wholesale beef values were lower on light to moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.87 lower Tuesday afternoon at $219.58/cwt. Select was $1.45 lower at $206.58.
Corn futures closed 4¢ to 6¢ higher through Jul ’20, and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 10¢ lower through Nov ’20 and then 5¢ to 7¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday, apparently bolstered by reports that the U.S. would ease, temporarily, restrictions imposed a day earlier on China’s tech giant, Huawei. Those restrictions—including prohibiting U.S. chipmakers from selling to the company—stem from an ongoing legal dispute between the company and the U.S. revolving around allegations that the Chinese company stole U.S. trade secrets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 197 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 24 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 83 points.
“Going forward, the (African Swine Fever) ASF-related impacts on the Chinese hog inventory are expected to lead to significant increases in demand for imported pork. A probable scenario is for Chinese excess demand for imported pork to progressively drive world pork trade dynamics. High Chinese pork prices can be expected to draw large volumes of imports from pork-exporting countries,” according to analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the most recent Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.
“For the United States, this could mean that significant shares of increased U.S. pork exports may back-fill pork diverted to China by other pork-exporting countries,” ERS analysts say. “However, to the extent that increased demand is reflected in higher prices, U.S. pork may find itself under competitive pressure in a number of price-sensitive markets. In addition, higher pork prices may also affect exports to countries where U.S. pork faces ad-valorum tariffs.”
China, for example, has targeted more than 1,000 agricultural and related products valued at approximately $22.6 billion (2017)—including recent supplementary tariffs—with added tariffs since April of last year, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service.
Moreover, the world can only speculate if and when China will gnaw through its frozen pork stocks and how much Chinese pork demand will remain. As it is, Joel Haggard, senior vice president in charge of the Asia Pacific region for the U.S. Meat Export Federation explained during a media call Tuesday that there is no shortage of pork in Chinese grocery stores and no run-up in prices.