Cattle futures sharply higher on oversold signals
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day higher, contracts were extremely oversold and due for a bounce, higher wholesale values and the bounce in the broader markets also helped to boost prices. Feeder cattle were higher on the same factors as the live pit. April live cattle closed $2.57 higher at $110.15 and June live cattle closed $2.77 higher at $103.97. March feeder cattle closed $2.45 higher at $133.72 and April feeder cattle closed $2.35 higher at $135.05.
Direct cash cattle trade activity is quiet with bids and asking prices not established. Showlists this week are mixed – higher in Nebraska and Colorado, somewhat lower in Texas, and lower in Kansas. Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the latter half of the week.
At Midsession at the Oklahoma National Stockyards feeder steers are steady to $1 higher. Feeder heifers are uneven with a slightly higher undertone noted. Steer calves are $1 to $5 higher and heifer calves are steady. Receipts are down on the week but up on the year. Feeder supply included 62 percent steers and 59 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 642 pounds brought $146.75 to $164 and feeder steers 652 to 698 pounds brought $141 to $150. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 552 to 592 pounds brought $131 to $147.50 and feeder heifers 706 to 735 pounds brought $122 to $127.25.
Boxed beef closed higher to sharply higher on good demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice is $1.23 higher at $206.53 and Select closed $2.25 higher at $201.16. The Choice/Select spread is $5.37. Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head – up 3,000 on the week and 4,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed mixed, mostly higher on spread adjustment as the market attempts to rebound after several days of broader market pressure. April lean hogs closed $.52 higher at $62.80 and May lean hogs closed $.05 lower at $68.97.
Cash hogs ended the day weak with moderate negotiated purchase numbers. The market continues its current path looking for a solid sense of direction. The industry continues to worry about the short and long-term demand impact resulting from the coronavirus at the same time – supplies of ready barrows and gilts are ample and that doesn’t look to slow anytime soon. While those two things are adding pressure to prices, strong domestic demand to start the year is helping to limit any losses and keeping prices supported. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.41 lower with a base range of $45 to $51.50 for a weighted average of $50.20; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.42 lower for a weighted average of $49.78; the Western Corn Belt closed $.31 lower for a weighted average of $49.29. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $36. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with good demand for light offerings at $19 to $28. Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $27 to $35. Boars bright $5 to $18. Pork values closed sharply higher – up $2.43 at $66.55. All of the primals were higher to sharply higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 495,000 head – even on the week and up 32,000 on the year.