Cattle futures closed higher Friday with likely positioning, helped along by stronger cash fed cattle prices as the week wore on.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 51¢ higher, except for 32¢ lower in newly minted away Oct. However, they were an average of $9.06 lower week to week.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.60 higher on Friday (35¢ to $2.92 higher). They were an average of $3.84 lower week to week.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand were moderate in the Southern Plains on Friday, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $185/cwt., which was steady in the Texas Panhandle and steady to $1 higher in Kansas.
Elsewhere, trade was slow on moderate demand. Although too few to trend, there were some FOB live trades in Nebraska at $186 and a few in the beef at $290-$292.
Established FOB live prices for the week in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt were $2-$3 lower at $183-$185. Dressed delivered prices were $4 lower at $290.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 72¢ higher Friday afternoon at $307.57/cwt. Select was 43¢ higher at $280.12/cwt.
Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 636,000 head was 2,000 head fewer than the previous week and 31,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 26.8 million head was 1.3 million head fewer (-4.6%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 21.9 billion pounds was 1.2 billion pounds less (-5.2%).
Net U.S. beef export sales of 17,400 metric tons (2023) for the week ending Oct. 19 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 72% from the prior four-week average, according to USDA’s weekly Export Sales report. Increases primarily were for South Korea, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Turning to row crops, Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 2¢ to 6¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 14¢ to 19¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices mostly closed lower Friday. Besides week-end squaring, investors appeared to be rattled about higher third-quarter GDP and consumer spending than expected, and how that may push the Fed to raise interest rates further.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 366 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 19 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 47 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.63 to $2.33 higher through the front six contracts.
Total pounds of beef in freezers Sept. 30 were 6% more than the previous month but 20% less than last year, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report. Analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) say the year-over-year reduction was driven by similar declines in both boneless and beef cuts.
“Beef stores have failed to follow the normal seasonal trend of building substantially after June and are 55 million pounds behind the five-year average. If this trend continues, then it will likely allow wholesale meat values to rise,” LMIC analysts explain, in the latest Livestock Monitor. “However, USDA NASS’s Cold Storage report does not provide a product breakout, so the increases may not be evenly distributed across product types.”
Frozen pork supplies were down 1% from the previous month and down 14% from the previous year.
Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 2% from the previous month but were 17% less than the same time last year.
Total frozen poultry supplies were down 1% from the previous month and slightly less than a year earlier.