Notions grew stronger yesterday for steady to higher cash fed cattle prices this week.
Early live sales in the western Corn Belt were $1-$2 higher at $114-$116/cwt., on slow trade and light demand.
There were 620 head (seven lots) offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction. One lot (148 head) of steers from Kansas sold at $116.75/cwt. for delivery at 1-9 days. That’s toward the top of the price range for country trade in the region last week.
Live Cattle futures closed marginally mixed Wednesday, while Feeder Cattle softened slightly, amid light trade and a lack of direction.
Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 5¢ higher in three contracts to an average of 12¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 54¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values were weak to lower on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 72¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $213.28/cwt. Select was $1.74 lower at $198.50.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply higher Wednesday, propelled by comments from Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, suggesting interest rate increases may be nearing an end.
“Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy—that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth,” Powell explained in prepared remarks at the Economic Club of New York Wednesday. “My FOMC colleagues and I, as well as many private-sector economists, are forecasting continued solid growth, low unemployment, and inflation near 2%.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 617 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 61 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 208 points.
“Declining unemployment rates and a small increase in population ages 16 and older corresponded to the addition of more than 650,000 jobs in rural counties between 2013 and 2017,” according to the recently released Rural America at a Glance, from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).
“At the same time, falling labor force participation (due primarily to an aging population among non-Hispanic Whites) corresponded to a decline in employment of nearly 280,000, leaving a net increase in jobs of roughly 370,000,” ERS analysts say.
In 2016-2017, rural counties added population for the first time in a decade, according to the report, though the total rural population has remained close to 46.1 million since 2013.
“The recent upturn in rural population comes from increasing rates of net migration as opposed to natural change (births minus deaths). Increased net migration has coincided with declining rural unemployment, rising incomes, and declining poverty since 2013,” say ERS analysts.