Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all cattle feeding regions through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were too few transactions to trend in any region.
Live prices last week were at $106/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $105 in Nebraska and $103-$105 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $162-$166 in Nebraska and $163-$165 in the western Corn Belt.
Cattle feeders offered 2,012 head in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange. Of those, 1,257 head sold: 766 head at an average of $106.04/cwt. for delivery at 1-9 days; 630 head for an average of $105.80 for delivery at 1-17 days.
Choice steers and heifers sold $2.50-$2.75 lower at the fat auction in Tama, IA. There were 219 Choice 2-4 steers weighing an average of 1,488 lbs. bringing an average price of $102.97.
At Sioux Falls Regional in South Dakota, slaughter steers and heifers sold steady to $1 higher. There were 171 Choice 2-3 steers weighing an average of 1,464 lbs. bringing an average of $103.62.
Cattle futures, especially Feeder Cattle, continued to gain Wednesday, helped along by lower grain futures.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 47¢ higher, from 10¢ higher to $1.00 higher in spot Oct.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.06 higher, from 45¢ higher toward the back to $1.65 higher toward the front.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 91¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $205.79/cwt. Select was 91¢ higher at $189.58.
Grain futures closed sharply lower Wednesday, likely pressured by anemic outside markets, profit taking, positioning ahead of next week’s election and improved growing conditions and Russia and South America.
Corn futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ lower through Sep ’21 and then mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 15¢ to 25¢ lower through Aug ’21 and then mostly 10¢ to 13¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices crumbled Wednesday as daily domestic coronavirus cases continued to set records and as Germany and France renewed strict pandemic restrictions amid increasing cases in those countries.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 943 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 119 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 426 points.
WTI Crude Oil futures on the CME closed $1.90 to $2.18 lower through the front six contracts.
Even as the pandemic threatens to further hamstring the economy, recent economic data suggests improvement before the latest upswing in cases was sluggish.
“Throughout the pandemic we have looked at the advanced estimates of monthly retail sales for clues as to the depth of the recession as well as the recovery. September data was released last week and showed that improvements are slow,” according to analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), in the latest Livestock Monitor. “The retail sector continues to be one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy. Clothing and accessory stores are down 32.6% in the first nine months of 2020 compared to a year ago. Department stores are still off 17.8%, and electric and appliance stores are still down 15.8%. Gas stations are off 16.4% and food service and bars are down 20.1%.”
More specifically, with food in mind, the LMIC folks explain sales at food service and drinking establishments were 14% less year over year, while grocery store sales were 10% higher. Although total retail and food service sales were 10% higher in September year over year, they are 0.8% less for the year to date.
“With the holiday season upon us, there is considerable question as to what this year’s spending will look like, and how much another round of stimulus could affect it,” say LMIC analysts. “December is the highest total retail sales month in every single year back to 1992, with the only exception being 2008. The fourth quarter of the year is routinely more than 25% of where total annual retail sales are spent. Last year the fourth quarter represented 26.6% of the annual figure, up from 26.4% the prior year. The 7% year-over-year increase in September looks promising and is easily the highest September on record.”