Negotiated cash fed cattle trade continued softer Thursday with live sales in the Southern Plains $3 lower than last week at $100/cwt. Dressed trade for the week so far is $9-$10 lower in Nebraska at $160-$166 and $3-$8 lower in the western Corn Belt at $167-$168.
Although closing off of session lows, Cattle futures ended lower, amid softer cash prices, demand worries and technical pressure.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.13 lower in the front three contracts, and then an average of 37¢ lower, except for unchanged in Jun and 5¢ higher in Apr.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 58¢ lower (25¢ lower to $1.15 lower in spot Sep).
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and sharply lower on Select with light demand and heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.23 lower Thursday afternoon at $229.42/cwt. Select was $4.48 lower at $204.47.
Corn futures closed unchanged to fractionally mixed.
Soybean futures closed mostly 11¢ to 13¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices blasted sharply higher Thursday, amid reports that the on-again, off-again trade talks are back on between the U.S. and China.
Other support included positive employment data.
Private sector employment increased by 195,000 jobs month to month in August, according to the monthly ADP National Employment Report®.
“Businesses are holding firm on their payrolls despite the slowing economy,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Hiring has moderated, but layoffs remain low. As long as this continues, recession will remain at bay.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 350 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 38 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 139 points.
U.S. beef exports in July held mainly steady with the previous year’s strong pace, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Beef exports increased 1% in volume year-over-year at 117,842 metric tons (mt), while export value of $720.4 million was down slightly from a year earlier, but still the seventh-highest monthly total on record.
For January-July, beef exports were 2% less than the same period last year at 766,607 mt. Beef export value of $4.75 billion was slightly below last year’s record pace.
South Korea continued to set the pace for growth. July U.S. beef export volume to that nation was 6% more than a year ago at 25,104 mt. Export value exceeded the previous month’s record at $181.3 million, up 7% from a year earlier. For January through July, beef exports to Korea climbed 11% in volume,) while export value eclipsed the previous year’s record pace by 14% at $1.1 billion.
“The Korean market is a remarkable success story and a blueprint for what U.S. beef can achieve when consumers are not shouldering such a heavy tariff burden,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “With the duty rate now less than half of its pre-FTA level, U.S. beef is enjoyed by more Korean consumers than ever, and in a wider variety of venues. This will also happen in Japan when duty rates come down, but on an even larger scale.”
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $308.47 in July, down 7% from a year ago, while January-July export value averaged $311.51 per head, down 2%.
July pork exports surged by 32% year over year to 233,242 mt. U.S. pork export value was up 34% at $623.3 million. For January-July, pork exports are running 2% ahead of last year’s pace at 1.48 million mt, while value was down 2% at $3.77 billion.
“USMEF anticipated a rebound in Mexico once duty-free status was restored for U.S. pork,” Halstrom explains. “But I want to emphasize that we did not take this recovery for granted. While those retaliatory duties were in place, USMEF ramped up our outreach with processors and other major buyers in Mexico and worked closely with them to keep product moving south, and with the duties removed we’re seeing the results of these efforts. Now ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical to ensure long-term duty-free access to this key market.”
July pork exports to Mexico were 19% more in July than a year earlier and value was 38% higher at $126.7 million.
Although held back by China’s retaliatory duties on U.S. pork, exports to China/Hong Kong were a record 68,657 mt in July, more than tripling from a year earlier, while value climbed 173% to a record $152.5 million.