Negotiated cash fed cattle prices bounced higher in some areas Wednesday, although the wide spread continues.
Live prices in the Southern Plains were mostly $5 higher than the previous week at mainly $110/cwt.
Dressed sales in the western Corn Belt were mainly $20-$30 higher than the previous week at mostly $180.
Prices in Nebraska were mostly steady at $95 on a live basis and at mostly $150 in the beef.
Cattle feeders offered 5,119 head in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction on Wednesday. Of those, 679 head sold for a weighted average price of $95.05/cwt.; all from the Southern Plains and for delivery at 1-17 days.
Higher cash prices and growing optimism about packing capacity moving beyond an established low point lifted Cattle futures mostly limit higher on Wednesday.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.93 higher, limit up through the front six contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed from an average of $4.33 higher, limit up $4.50 in the front five contracts.
Wholesale beef values took yet another step higher. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $20.19 higher Wednesday afternoon at a $449.18/cwt. Select was $21.25 higher at $431.96.
Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 10¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mainly lower Wednesday, except for tech stocks, as more data quantifies the labor misery dealt by the pandemic.
Private sector employment decreased by 20.24 million jobs from March to April, according to the April ADP National Employment Report® (NER).
“Job losses of this scale are unprecedented. The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession,” says Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Additionally, it is important to note that the report is based on the total number of payroll records for employees who were active on a company’s payroll through the 12th of the month.” As such, she explains the latest NER doesn’t reflect the full impact of COVID-19 on the overall employment situation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 218 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 20 points lower. The NASDAQ closed 45 points higher.
U.S. beef exports were record high for the first quarter, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
U.S. beef exports in March totaled 115,308 metric tons (mt), up 7% from a year earlier. Value was 4% more at $702.2 million. Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada and Taiwan drove export growth for the month.
First-quarter beef exports climbed 9% from a year earlier to 334,703 mt; valued at $2.06 billion, which was 8% higher.
“March export results were very solid, especially given the COVID-19 related headwinds facing customers in many international markets at that time,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Stay-at-home orders created enormous challenges for many countries’ foodservice sectors, several key currencies slumped against the U.S. dollar and logistical obstacles surfaced in some key markets; yet demand for U.S. red meat proved very resilient…The U.S. meat industry has spent decades developing a loyal and well-informed customer base throughout the world, which has embraced the quality and value delivered by U.S. red meat. Their commitment to U.S. products during this crisis is much-appreciated.”
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter was $308.21 in March, down 8% from the very high March 2019 average. For the first quarter, per-head export value increased 2% to $317.06.
U.S. pork export volume of 291,459 mt was 38% more than a year earlier. Pork export value was 47% more at $764.2 million. Through the first quarter, pork exports increased 40% from a year ago to 838,118 mt, valued at $2.23 billion (up 52%).
USMEF points out some recent events, including temporary closures of several U.S. processing plants, are not reflected in the first quarter export data. Halstrom cautions that April and May exports could slow as a result, but his outlook for 2020 remains positive.