The week’s mostly steady to stronger negotiated cash fed cattle trade helped lift Cattle futures on Thursday.
Except for 30¢ lower in the back contract, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 50¢ higher.
That was despite the latest U.S. Export Sales report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For the week ending July 6, net U.S. beef export sales of 9,500 metric tons (mt) were 23% less than the previous week and 51% less than the previous four-week average. Increases were primarily for Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico, and Taiwan.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 56¢ higher.
At $133.69, the CME Feeder Cattle Index was at the highest level since the first part of March.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 24¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $203.59/cwt. Select was 69¢ lower at $194.83.
USDA’s latest weekly Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report underscores the continued recovery in beef packing capacity. Total fed cattle slaughter for the week of June 27 was 532,820 head, which was 20,029 more than the previous week–the most since the last week of March–but 5,221 head fewer than the previous year. Total cattle slaughter of 664,812 head was 19,151 head more than the previous week, but 5,499 head fewer than the previous year.
That same report speaks to the continued backlog of fed cattle, with the average dressed steer weight for the week at 896 lbs., which was 6 lbs. heavier than the previous week and 42 lbs. more than the previous year. The average dressed heifer weight of 826 lbs. was 3 lbs. heavier than the previous week and 37 lbs. heavier than the same time a year earlier.