There was limited negotiated cash fed cattle trade Thursday with light to moderate demand in all major cattle feeding regions, but too few transactions to trend in any region. So far this week, trade has been at $109-$111/cwt. on a live basis in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, with dressed sales in those regions at $174.
Cattle futures closed mostly narrowly mixed Thursday.
Other than 15¢ higher in spot Oct, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 17¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed but mostly higher. The front two contracts were an average of $1.12 higher and then 7¢ lower to 35¢ higher across the rest of the board.
Wholesale beef values were sharply higher on moderate to good demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.26 higher Thursday afternoon at $206.82/cwt. Select was $1.16 higher at $192.35.
Wall Street continued to search for a bottom in the recent sell-off as major U.S. financial indices closed steeply lower Thursday. Among pressures cited by analysts are lingering worries about the trade impasse with China and higher interest rates, as well as some thoughts that tech stocks are valued too high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 327 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 40 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 157 points.
“Fourth-quarter 2018 is likely to be characterized by feedlots feeding cattle longer than previously expected, lowering expected fourth-quarter fed cattle slaughter,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in this month’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. “This is largely responsible for reducing the 2018 commercial beef production forecast from the previous month. The beef production forecast for 2019 was raised on greater expected placements in second-half 2018 and first-half 2019.”
Projected beef production for this year was lowered by 150 million lbs. to 26.9 billion lbs., based on expectations of fewer steers and heifers to be slaughtered more than offsetting additional cows in the slaughter mix.
Projected beef production for next year was raised by 190 million lbs. to 27.9 billion lbs., based aforementioned projections for more placements than expected.
“The expected higher number of fed cattle to be slaughtered was partially offset by an expectation of lower dressed weights in early 2019,” ERS analysts say.