“Lower cash sales of fed cattle combined with the downward trending futures is causing much uncertainty among cattle feeders,” noted the AMS reporter on hand for Thursday’s sale at Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota.
Apparently, technical pressure, borne by recent bearishness was behind the hard drop in Feeder Cattle futures, which pressured Live Cattle in turn. It didn’t help that early support in Lean Hog futures faded through the session.
Net U.S. pork sales for Apr. 19-25 of 16,100 metric tons (mt) were 4% less than the previous week and 59% less than the prior four-week average, according to the Weekly Export Sales report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Beef exports continued softer, as well. Net export sales of U.S. beef (10,600 mt) were down 54% from the previous week and 50% lower than the prior four-week average.
Except for 20¢ lower in spot Jun, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 96¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.99 lower.
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and sharply lower on Select with light to moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.42 lower Thursday afternoon at $228.80/cwt. Select was $2.42 lower at $215.08.
Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 2¢ higher through near Dec and then fractionally lower to 3¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢-8¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again on Thursday, with follow-through pressure from the Fed’s decision to leave the federal funds rate unchanged on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 122 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 6 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 12 points.
Incidentally, Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ:BYND)—a plant-based fake meat company—went public, launching its IPO Thursday at $25 per share. The price soared to $65.75 by the close of the day.
Demand for speed and convenience continue to shift consumer eating patterns, according to two recent reports from the NPD Group (NPD).
For instance, consumers are including frozen foods in 2% more at-home meals than a decade ago—9.8 billion at-home eating occasions last year.
“Demographic shifts, like Millennials moving into the busiest times of their lives juggling spouses, kids, and a career, are fueling a greater need for the convenience that frozen foods offer,” says David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Manufacturers are also doing their part in increasing interest in frozen foods by innovating around contemporary food values and emerging flavor trends to provide convenience.”
Likewise, the fast casual restaurant category continues to grow. The definition of fast casual varies, but tends to include restaurants such as Five Guys, Shake Shack and even Starbucks.
Specifically, the number of fast casual chain restaurants rose by 1% to 25,312 total units, based on NPD’s Fall 2018 ReCount® restaurant census, which includes restaurants open as of September 30, 2018. In the year ending February 2019, compared to a year earlier, fast casual customers increased their visits by 3%, while the total quick service restaurant category, under which the fast casual category falls, were up 1%; total U.S. foodservice traffic remained flat.
The fast casual category is still a relatively small part of the total foodservice industry, according to NPD. Fast casual restaurants represent 8% of total quick service visits, whereas traditional quick service restaurants, represent 75% of traffic.