Cattle futures managed to close marginally lower to narrowly mixed Thursday.
Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 34¢ lower in four contracts to an average of 56¢ higher.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 38¢ lower, except for an average of 6¢ higher in two contracts.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in the Southern Plains and mostly inactive on light demand in the North through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
For the week, prices are steady to unevenly steady in the Southern Plains and Nebraska with live prices at $124/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $123-$124 in Kansas and $125 in Nebraska. Live prices in the western Corn Belt are $1-$3 lower at $123-$124. Dressed traded is unevenly steady at $200.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.82 lower Thursday afternoon at $318.00/cwt. Select was $3.62 lower at $280.27.
Net U.S. beef export sales for the week ending Sept. 9 were 15,300 metric tons, according to USDA’s weekly U.S. Export Sales report. That was 23% more than the previous week and 24% more than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico, and Canada.
Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed fractionally higher to 1¢ higher through May ‘22 and then mostly 1¢ to 4¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices mainly hovered in place Thursday amid investor caution. Weekly initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending Sept. 11 were 332,000, which was 20,000 more than the previous week and a tad gloomier than expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 63 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 6 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 20 points.
Price projections in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) continue to be optimistic, especially heading into 2022.
ERS sees the 2022 annual average feeder steer price (basis 750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) at $155.00/cwt., which would be $9.12 more than this year’s estimate and $19.55 more than the 2020 average. Prices are projected at $154 in the third quarter and $155 in the fourth quarter for an annual average of $145.88. Prices are forecast at $153 in the first quarter next year and at $151 in the second.
ERS projects the 2022 annual average five-area direct fed steer price at $128.25/cwt., which would be $6.07 more than this year’s projection and $19.74 more than 2020. Prices are projected at $124 in the third quarter and $131 in the fourth quarter for an annual average of $122.18. Prices are forecast at $133 in the first quarter next year and at $128 in the second.
“Cow slaughter is expected to be higher during the second half of the year, partly offsetting declines in steer and heifer slaughter. But, coupled with lighter expected dressed weights, the forecast for 2021 beef production was reduced to 27.74 billion lbs., down 130 million lbs. from last month,” according to ERS analysts.