Negotiated cash fed cattle trade continued in Nebraska through Thursday afternoon at $116/cwt., which was $1 lower than last week, but steady to $1 higher than on Wednesday. Dressed sales were at $183-$186, which was steady to $2 lower than the previous week.
Cattle futures mostly edged higher Thursday, helped along by the previous day’s bullish Cold Storage report, oversold conditions and continued sluggishness.
Except for 2¢ lower in Feb, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 21¢ higher.
Except for 2¢ lower at the back of the board, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 21¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were firm to higher on moderate to fairly good demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.04 higher Thursday afternoon at $220.79/cwt. Select was 72¢ higher at $206.53.
Corn futures closed 2¢ to 5¢ lower through May ‘20 and then mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 7¢ lower in the front five contracts and then mostly fractionally lower to 3¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Thursday, under continued pressure from uncertainty about domestic and global economic growth, related to the U.S. trade impasse with China.
Crude Oil futures (WTI-CME) fell an average of $3.47 through the front six contracts, closing at their lowest levels since March.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 286 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 34 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 122 points.
“The United States holds all the cards here, and if the U.S. is willing to walk away from the game board and kick it over, it won’t be the one feeling the pain,” said Peter Zeihan, a global trade expert and best-selling author, offering his perspective, at the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) spring conference, on how the current trade environment impacts U.S. agriculture and the red meat industry specifically.
“What you’re seeing right now with the trade deficit is a transitional period,” Zeihan explained. “In this moment, it looks like the United States doesn’t have as much leverage as it actually does. You feel that more than any other sector, because agriculture is the only thing that foreign governments can target. But this moment of transition isn’t going to last long.”
In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced yesterday that President Trump directed him to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally.
Specifically, the President authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.
“The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” says Secretary Perdue. “Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”
At the USMEF meeting, Zeihan pointed out, “The Greater Midwest is the single largest chunk of arable land in a temperate zone in the world, and it out-produces the next two largest agricultural zones put together. The Greater Mississippi, by itself, has more miles of naturally navigable waterway than the combined internal systems of the rest of the world. This chunk of North America is both the richest territory on the planet and the most securable. Decades of bipartisan effort have yet to screw this up, and this will not be the administration that cracks the code.”