Negotiated cash fed cattle trade developed in the Southern Plains on Thursday, with live sales at $110/cwt. That was $1 higher in Kansas and $2 higher in the Texas Panhandle. Although too few to trend, there were also some early dressed sales in the North at $174-$175, which was $1 higher than the low end of last week’s range.
Cattle futures softened a touch. Part of the pressure might have been defense ahead of Friday’s USDA monthly Cattle on Feed report.
Except for 22¢ higher in spot Oct, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower.
Except for 20¢ higher in spot Oct, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 64¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values were sharply higher on Choice again and steady on Select, with fairly good demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.34 higher Thursday afternoon at $225.62/cwt. Select was 15¢ higher at $199.09.
Although increasing seasonally, dressed fed cattle carcass weights continue to be lighter year over year, according to USDA’s weekly Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed steer weight of 901 lbs. for the week ending Oct. 12 was 2 lbs. heavier than the previous week but 2 lbs. lighter than the same week last year. The average dressed heifer weight of 828 lbs. was 4 lbs. heavier than the prior week but 3 lbs. lighter than a year earlier.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed fractionally lower to 1¢ lower in the front three contracts and then fractionally higher to 5¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Thursday. Although corporate quarterly earnings reports continue mostly positive, investors remain uncertain about economic growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 28 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 66 points.
The closely watched Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) from Creighton University rose above growth neutral this month, but rural bankers’ economic expectations fell to the lowest level in two years.
Specifically, the RMI increased to 51.4 in October from 50.1 in September. Although still weak, it was the highest level since June and marked the third time in the past four months that the overall index rose above growth neutral.
“Federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices boosted the Rural Mainstreet Index slightly,” says Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. Even so, he adds that 73% of bank CEOs reported continuing negative impacts from the trade war.
Bank CEO expectations for the economy six months out, slumped to 36.5 from September’s 42.9, and continues to indicate a very negative economic outlook among bankers, according to the associated confidence index.
“This is the lowest economic confidence we have recorded in two years,” says Goss. “The trade war with China and the lack of passage of the USMCA (NAFTA’s replacement) are driving confidence and growth lower for most areas of the region.”
The RMI is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation.