Hog futures rally late
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were lower on profit taking, bearish export numbers, the week’s lower direct business, and another drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The broader market had another adverse reaction to the spread of coronavirus. April was down $2.62 at $108.65 and June was $1.87 lower at $102.65.
Feeder cattle were pressured by the same factors as the live pit. March was $1.22 lower at $133.62 and April was down $1.90 at $133.65.
Direct cash cattle business was light to moderate. Trade was reported at $113 live, steady with Wednesday and $2 lower than last week, and $180 to $182 dressed, $4 to $6 lower. Business Wednesday was light to moderate at $113 live in Kansas and Texas, down $2 from last week’s weighted average, which was down $5 from the week before that. Asking prices were $114 to $115 live and $185+ dressed with bids at $180 dressed. Buyers and sellers will continue to monitor the futures and wholesale markets as well. Weekly beef exports sales of 12,900 tons were down 8% on the week, mostly to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Shipments of 16,600 tons were 6% lower, mainly to Japan and South Korea. Those figures are in-line with the recent decline and might also reflect the coronavirus spread.
Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice was up $.43 at $207.25 and Select was down $.45 at $201.06. The estimated cattle slaughter of 123,000 head was up 1,000 on the week and 7,000 on the year.
At the Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange feeder cattle sale in North Dakota, compared to the previous week, feeder steers and heifers were $2 to $4 higher. The USDA says demand was good to moderate for a mostly attractive offering, mostly in light to moderate flesh. Receipts were up on the week, but down on the year. 73% of the offering were steers and 88% of the run weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds sold at $145.75 to $162.75 and 700 to 800-pound steers ranged from $135 to $144.75. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 600 to 700 pounds brought $132.75 to $142.75 and 700 to 800-pound heifers were reported at $121.50 to $128.25.
Lean hog futures were mixed for much of the session, but rallied on commercial and technical buying, along with the firm midday move in pork. The trade continues to wait for China to start issuing tariff waivers and buy U.S. ag goods in large quantities. April was up $1.07 at $65.37 and June was $.55 higher at $79.37.
Cash hogs were steady modestly higher, with moderate closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. Those major direct markets opened lower, trying to limit spending, but had to raise bids, attempting to keep chain speed at a high level and move the needed numbers. Market ready supplies have tightened a little bit, with Allendale reporting daily slaughter levels are down 1% from January and early February. Still, there’s plenty of pork on the market right now and if the patterns from January and February hold, 2020 will be another year of record production. Weekly pork exports of 33,700 tons were 13% lower than last week, mainly to Mexico, China, and Japan. Shipments of 43,500 tons were up 2%, primarily to China and Mexico.
Pork closed $1.30 higher at $67.04. Loins, butts, and bellies were firm to sharply higher, including a $7.09 gain in bellies. Picnics, ribs, and hams were weak to sharply lower. The estimated hog slaughter of 495,000 head was up 1,000 on the week and 24,000 on the year.
National direct barrows and gilts closed $.50 higher at $45 to $52.75 with a weighted average of $51.13, while Iowa/Southern Minnesota was up $.23 at $51.45 and the Western Corn Belt was $.26 higher at $51.43. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $36 to $40. Illinois direct sows were steady at $19 to $28 on good demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $27 to $35 with moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $5 to $18.