Futures Trend Lower Into Afternoon – AgFax

Photo: Kansas State University

After an aggressive early half of the week, the livestock complex has backed off its momentum and is now trending lower.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

The cattle contracts have seemed to milk all the good out of traders this week as both the live cattle and feeder cattle futures trend lower into Thursday afternoon.

The lean hog complex is also trending lower but as packers look at the weeks to come, they question what consumer demand will be after the Easter holiday.

May corn is up 4 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $1.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 5.81 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

It’s a quiet day for the live cattle contracts as traders let the market drift lower and the week’s cash cattle trade looks to be all but done. After an impressive week, which took on the 40-day moving average, the complex is now having to decide if these levels are sustainable over the long run.

April live cattle are down $0.12 at $140.50, June live cattle are down $0.72 at $136.15 and August live cattle are down $0.55 at $138.10. Throughout the week, Northern dressed deals have been marked at $224 to $231, mostly $225 to $226 — $2 to $3 higher than last week’s weighted average basis Nebraska.

Southern live sales have been marked at $139, $1 higher than last week’s weighted averages. Some more cash cattle trade could develop before the week’s end, but it is looking like the bulk of the week’s business is done.

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction today listed a total of 3,258 head, of which 515 actually sold, 460 were scratched from the and 2,283 head were listed as unsold, as they did not meet the reserve prices, which ranged from $133 to $144. Opening prices ranged from $131 to $138, high bids ranged from $133 to $144.25.

The state-by-state breakdown looks like this: Texas 990 total head, 530 head auction went unsold and 460 head were scratched from the; Nebraska 480 total head, with 480 head sold at $144 to $144.25; California 105 total head, with 35 head sold at $133, 70 head went unsold; Iowa 1,683 total head, all set for delayed delivery, none were sold.

Beef net export sales of 17,200 metric tons (mt) for 2022 were up 23% from the previous week, but down 18% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were South Korea (7,500 mt), Japan (4,200 mt) and Canada (1,300 mt).

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice down $0.59 ($271.77) and select up $0.42 ($259.79) with a movement of 62 loads (40.12 loads of choice, 7.12 loads of select, 3.10 loads of trim and 11.78 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

The feeder cattle contracts are trending mostly lower heading into Thursday afternoon and it’s not because the corn market is trading higher (corn is trading mostly lower) but the market’s sure-fire support from the live cattle complex has evaporated and traders seem leery of taking the complex any higher for the time being.

April feeders are down $0.35 at $158.22, May feeders are up $0.17 at $162.12 and August feeders are down $0.45 at $173.97. Sale barns will likely see better interest next week as the market will be past the Easter holiday and the weather will hopefully be friendlier to livestock.

LEAN HOGS:

The lean hog complex is trending lower as it seems the market has stalled out. With Lent finished today, the lean hog complex wants to know what’s next in terms of demand. Will consumers head to the meat counter and stock up on pork products as they are a buy when compared to beef? Or will inflation keep buyers at bay and leave the market guessing what each week will be in regard to consumer demand?

June lean hogs are down $0.25 at $117.35, July lean hogs are down $0.35 at $118.75 and August lean hogs are down $0.32 at $117.52. Thursday’s export report wasn’t anything to swoon over, but it was interesting to see China as the third largest buyer.

Hog prices are higher on the Daily Direct Hog Report, up $0.23 with a weighted average of $96.70, ranging from $94.00 to $100.00 on 4,070 head and a five-day rolling average of $96.44. Pork cutouts total 153.04 loads with 136.03 loads of pork cuts and 17.02 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.41, $108.94.

Pork net export sales of 24,000 mt for 2022 were down 42% from the previous week and 26% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Mexico (6,100 mt), Japan (5,400 mt) and China (4,000 mt).

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