Negotiated cash fed cattle trade developed in the Southern Plains Wednesday with prices steady to $1 higher at $115/cwt. on a live basis.
There were 1,393 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction, and no takers. Two lots from the Southern Plains were passed at bids of $115.00 and $115.50/cwt.
Choice steers and heifers sold $1.50-$2.00 higher at the fat auction in Tama, IA on Wednesday. There were 358 Choice 2-4 steers weighing an average of 1,452 lbs. and bringing an average price of $117.68. Country trade in the region last week was at $114-$115.
Cattle futures stepped lower, though, with heavy volume and about even open interest. Rather than the beginning of a correction, one could argue retrenchment ahead of what looks to be a higher trending market.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.60 lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.13 lower, ($2.25 to $4.30 lower). A day earlier, the CME Feeder Cattle Index reached the highest level since last December at $147.44.
Wholesale beef values were higher on good demand and light offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.84 higher Wednesday afternoon at $242.34/cwt. Select was $1.30 higher at $217.53.
Corn futures closed 2¢ to 3¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed on Wednesday, with support from positive news, including a stout pop in Disney shares, capped by another see-saw chapter of U.S.-China trade talks; reports that there was yet another snag.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 92 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 2 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 3 points.
“Besides the impact of ASF (African Swine Fever), many trade disputes and issues are causing uncertainty for global animal protein, with the US-China trade war the most apparent, but not the only trade uncertainty,” says Justin Sherrard, Global Strategist, Animal Protein at RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness (RRFA). “In addition, the ongoing rise of alternative proteins also adds to the uncertainty, even though Rabobank has a less bullish view of alternatives than others do.”
RRFA released its annual global animal protein outlook Wednesday.
Rabobank projects protein growth in most regions next year, but analysts say production losses, due to ASF, particularly in China, will exceed combined production growth in all other regions.
For North America, Rabobank anticipates production growth from all species, led by pork and followed by poultry and then beef.
“We expect U.S. beef production to be up slightly, by less than 1% in 2020,” according to the report. “Non-fed slaughter could also be up a little, as a result of liquidation. We expect the calf crop to come down slightly, reflecting weather conditions at calving and in the spring. We expect carcass weights to return to trend, offsetting any reduction in numbers.
“With only a fractional increase in production and solid exports, U.S. fed cattle prices are expected to change little. We expect a spring high of $128-$130/cwt. and a summer low of $100-$105.”