Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ended the week mainly steady to $1 higher at $115/cwt. on a live basis and at $182 in the beef, based on USDA reports.
There were 1,264 head offered in a Friday edition of the Fed Cattle Exchange auction, and no takers.
Cattle futures traded sideways and closed marginally mixed Friday.
Other than 2¢ and 5¢ higher in the front two contracts, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 17¢ lower.
Other than 37¢ lower in spot Nov and 15¢ lower in Sep Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 16¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were weak to lower on light demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 26¢ lower Friday afternoon at $240.80/cwt. Select was $1.51 lower at $214.33.
Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed strongly higher Friday, buoyed by reports that the U.S. and China are getting closer to a trade deal.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 222 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 23 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 61 points.
“As the Choice-Select price spread stays abnormally high, packers appear to be paying higher prices to bid cattle out of the feedlots, as the spread is likely incentivizing feedlots to keep cattle on feed longer,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. “Packers’ willingness to pay higher prices is likely supported by the strong boxed beef market going into the holiday season.”
USDA increased the expected fed steer price (5-area direct) $2 for the fourth quarter to $112/cwt. with a forecast annual price this year of $116. Average prices through the first three quarters of next year are projected at $113 (third quarter) to $120 (first quarter).
In turn, feeder steer prices finally started to increase.
ERS analysts point out feeder steers weighing 750-800 lbs. traded $13 higher ($148.04/cwt.) at Oklahoma City the week of Nov. 4, compared to the recent low the week of Sept. 9.
“Based on recent price data, the fourth-quarter 2019 feeder steer price was raised by $3 to $144/cwt. (basis Oklahoma City),” say ERS analysts. “The first-quarter price forecast for 2020 was raised by $2 to $138. The annual price forecast for feeder steers is raised by $1 to $142.
Projected feeder steer prices are expected to increase in 2020, especially in the latter half, compared to 2019. Year over year, the forecast first-quarter average price next year is $2.76 lower at $138/cwt., about even in the second at $130, but $6.81 higher in the third quarter at $147.90. The projected annual average price is $1.50 higher at $143.