Despite sharply lower outside markets, a bounce higher in grain prices and the ongoing slower beef packing pace, cash cattle and futures prices held their own last week.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
For the week, live prices were steady to $1 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $137, $1-$2 higher in Kansas at $137. Prices were steady to $1 higher in Nebraska at $137-$138 and $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $137. Dressed prices were steady at $218.
Cattle futures leaked lower Friday amid stagnant cash prices and bearish outside markets.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 63¢ lower (25¢ to $1.07 lower), except for unchanged and 5¢ higher in the back two contracts. Week to week, they closed mixed, from an average of 19¢ lower in the front four contracts to an average of 52¢ higher.
Choice Boxed beef cutout value was 57¢ lower Friday afternoon at $292.41/cwt. Select was 15¢ higher at $282.33. Week to week, though, Choice was $8.10 higher and Select was $8.36 higher.
Estimated total cattle slaughter last week was 636,000 head, which was 18,000 head more than the previous week, but 26,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter of 1.87 million head is 161,000 head fewer (-7.9%) than last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production is 147.5 million lbs. less (-8.6%) at 1.57 billion lbs.
Net U.S. beef export sales were 12,800 metric tons for the week ending Jan. 13, according to the weekly U.S. Export Sales report. Sales were primarily for China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan.