At noon, we told Annie to bar the door, but maybe we should have let her keep it open so the market could figure itself out. Of all things, the hog market that is lacking export opportunities has too much supply, and that now has the rest of the trade sector worried too because Chinese officials are expressing doubts about reaching a deal with the U.S.
Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.36 with a weighted average of $49.07. December corn is down 3/4 cent per bushel and December soybean meal is up $2.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 140.46 points and NASDAQ is down 11.62 points.
Live cattle contracts bounced around the most Thursday, indicating that the market didn't know where to fall. Despite its varying prices throughout the day, it's a positive sign that the market was able to keep within Wednesday's parameters. December live cattle closed $1.07 lower at $117.22 and February live cattle closed $0.75 lower at $122.35. A lot of questions will be answered Friday. Was Wednesday's rally a fluke? Or will cash prices boost the board's moral and trade higher? Time will tell.
Some cash trade took place in Kansas with prices steady with Wednesday's gains -- $112.00, which is $2.00 higher than last week's weighted average. Thursday's slaughter is estimated at 118,000 head -- steady with last week, 4,000 head less than a year ago.
Closing boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $2.13 ($232.18) and select down $0.18 ($206.49) with a total movement of 117 loads (72.67 loads of choice, 23.85 loads of select, no loads of trim and 20.69 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to $1.00 higher. Feeders are holding out again this week, and with packers itching to keep getting fat checks from the retail sector, they may be anxious to buy even if it is for higher money than last week.
On an estimated run of 2,500 head (down 558 head from the previous week) Huss Livestock Market in Kearney, Nebraska, sold steer calves compared to last week unevenly steady. Heifer calves sold steady to $3.00 higher and yearling heifers sold $2.00 higher. Demand was noted to be good on yearlings with moderate to good demand on calves. Buyers preferred calves with preconditioned shots instead of calves that had just had their spring vaccines. They exited to have more calves than before, but because of icy roads and snow not as many came to town. The feeder cattle market fared better than the live cattle market did. November feeder cattle down $0.27 at $147.60 and January feeder cattle down $0.12 at $144.67. The CME feeder cattle index 10/30/19: up $0.15 at $145.23.
The lean hog market was the only livestock facet able to close the day higher. All nearby and deferred contracts closed $0.05 to $0.87 higher. December closed $0.22 higher at $66.00 and February lean hogs closed only $0.05 higher at $73.32. Thursday's market being able to close above Wednesday's rally was huge in the hog market. Pork cutouts totaled 327.27 loads with 293.75 loads of pork cuts and 33.51 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.61 at $76.05. The CME lean hog index for 10/29/19: down $0.38 at $63.13.
FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. Given that the board captured gains above Wednesday's close, the market may have a sliver of hope to either trade steady cash Friday or maybe even some higher. Despite what the board is doing, we have to remember that the countryside is flooded with hogs and it's always tough to sell on a saturated market for more money.
Annie bar the door because the livestock market doesn't know if Wednesday's rally was too much, about right or where Thursday's trade needs to stabilize at. If markets can stay within Wednesday's means, then day could be seen as a success. If markets close on the upper end of the spectrum, bulls will party and bears will cuss. If the markets close at Wednesday's low or lower, bulls with pout and bears will remind everyone that this correct was well announced. December corn is down 3 1/2 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is up $0.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 213.50 points and NASDAQ is down 33.54 points.
December live cattle are down $1.20 at $117.10, February live cattle are down $0.90 and the rest of the complex follows in the same pursuit not knowing whether or not Wednesday's rally was a good thing or not. Given the fact that the live cattle market is trading safely within Wednesday's parameters gives some sort of a bullish feel. The true knowing if Wednesday's rally was a success or flop won't probably be known until Thursday's close and then reassured again on Friday.
Packers are waiting patiently to see how Thursday's board pans out to see what countryside psychology can be played this go around. Thursday morning has been quiet so far and it wouldn't be surprising to see the large majority of trade wait until sometime Friday to really get underway.
Tuesday's slaughter was revised to 113,000 head (4,000 head lower than anticipated). With Wednesday's kill that puts the week at 348,000 head. In order to reach the week's expected harvest of 650,000 head, Saturday's kill will have to larger than initially assumed.
Midday boxed beef cutouts are mixed: choice up $1.62 ($231.67) and select down $0.18 ($206.49) with a movement of 62 total loads (31.30 loads of choice, 17.24 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 13.66 loads of ground beef).
Feeder markets are holding onto Wednesday's rally better than the live cattle market is. November feeder cattle are down $1.00 at $146.87, January feeder cattle are down $1.10 at $143.70 and the rest of the complex is down merely the same. Perhaps roles will shift this time around and the feeder cattle markets levelness will seep into the live cattle market.
Oddly enough, the lean hog sector is the only market showing signs of support Thursday morning. Deferred contracts rally anywhere from $0.20 to $0.50, while nearby contracts suffer like the rest of the livestock market. December lean hogs are down $0.47 at $65.30 and February lean hogs are down $0.32 at $72.95. U.S. pork exports are up 327,200 metric tons in 2019 compared to the 2018 calendar year. Exports to China (up 219,500mt) and Mexico (up 95,600mt) have been the biggest markets this year.
The project lean hog index for 10/30/19 is down $0.39 at $62.74, and the actual lean hog index for 10/29/19 came to $63.13 down $0.38. Prices are up on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.28 with a weighted average of $49.71, ranging from $46.00 to $51.14 on 4,302 hogs sold and a five-day rolling average of $51.41. Pork cutouts totaled 163.39 loads with 141.21 loads of pork cuts and 22.18 loads of trim. Pork cutout values are up $1.99 at $77.43.
The surge in futures prices and beef values sparked limited midweek cash trade at $111 to $112 through the South with most trades at $112 per cwt. This is $2 per cwt higher than last week. The ability to continue the upward march in cash prices continues to spark some additional underlying buyer interest, as asking prices remain firm at $115 live in the South and $182 in the North. There seems to be little indication that feeders are willing to back away from the elevated prices put on cattle at this point, given the increased packer margin that continues to be built into the complex over the last couple of weeks as beef values have continued to surge higher during October. One of the biggest unknowns is if packers will try to get cash trade done yet Thursday before moving into the month of November, or will they do the bulk of buying on Friday, putting it on November's books? Futures buying is expected to be renewed following strong support in live cattle and feeder cattle futures Wednesday. Even though nearby contracts have posted new short-term highs for this rally with December closing at $118.30 per cwt Wednesday, the ability for feeder cattle to break out of the previous market range with November futures moving above $147 per cwt is sparking increased underlying support through the entire complex. This technical breakthrough in nearby feeder cattle futures is expected to stimulate additional underlying support through the end of the week. Thursday slaughter runs are expected at 117,000 head.
Strong moves late Wednesday helped push nearby lean hog futures away from short-term lows, although the underlying tone of the market still remains generally weak. Spillover support from the aggressive moves in cattle trade at midweek is expected to spark some additional underlying strength as traders focus less on what could happen in trade talks with China and more on underlying short-term demand that continues to remain generally good. This is not expected to spark aggressive long-term gains until more clear direction is seen regarding export trade with China, but the focus on holding prices above technical support is building through the end of the month. It appears hog trade is finally getting tired of the "on again, off again" tone in recent news stories about the development and potential signing of a partial trade agreement next month. But the point is that the direction of short-term lean hog prices is contingent on gaining increased access to China's pork demand following the continued supply issues due to African swine fever. Cash hog values are expected to be steady to $1 per cwt lower, with most bids expected $1 lower. Expected slaughter Thursday is at 490,000 head. Saturday runs are expected at 235,000 head.
Strong cash cattle support has developed in parts of Southern cattle country at midweek, sparking increased expectations of additional gains through the end of the week. This continued support follows strong upward moves in futures and wholesale beef values.
Despite technical support in cattle futures, the air is getting thin at these price levels and the market could quickly change course, creating the potential for a moderate and swift correction in the near future.
Select boxed beef values surged $3.10 per cwt higher Wednesday, narrowing the choice to select price spread by over $3.50 per cwt in one day. The underlying support in wholesale beef values through late October is sparking increased support as traders expect tighter supplies in the months to come.
With October contracts expiring, a wide gap is left between October and December futures. Can cash prices adjust higher to December contract levels or will the underlying futures trade revert back to cash price levels over the next couple of weeks? As December takes over as official front-month contract we may see increased softness through the entire complex.
Lean hog futures trade broke away from the compelling weakness still developing in cash and wholesale pork markets. This move higher is helping spark additional end-of-month buying as cattle market momentum spilled over in hog trade. This may help rekindle additional late-week buying Thursday morning.
Continued cash market pressure is slowly but steadily developing through the entire complex. This is limiting fundamental support through the entire market despite midweek gains in futures trade.
Traders are eagerly looking toward the morning release of weekly export sales reports. The hope and expectation of increased China purchase at the end of last week is creating some momentum in nearby trade.
With meetings in Chile canceled due to violence in the country, questions remain as to when and where China and the U.S. presidents will meet concerning the partial trade deal that was expected to be signed during November.
John Wayne may have whispered from above to the livestock market, "Ya know, we're burin' daylight," and from that spur of inspiration, Wednesday's market got to work. December live cattle closed $1.47 higher, November feeder cattle closed $2.40 higher and December lean hogs closed $1.45 higher. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $1.48 with a weighted average of $49.60. December corn was up 4 1/2 cents per bushel, and December soybean meal was down $0.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 115.27 points and the NASDAQ was up 27.13 points.
Live cattle futures had a strong day, with the December contract closing $1.47 higher at $118.30. Live cattle prices haven't been that high in nearly six months. Nearby and deferred contracts alike all closed significantly higher with the only contract not closing with gains of more than $1.00 was the April 2020 board, which was up $0.97. Wednesday's market closed with enough polish that bulls want to throw their hats and sip on nice, smooth whiskey and say, "Told ya so!" But the real telling won't be until more time passes. Wednesday's rally won't equate to much if Thursday throws it all away and it's merely forgotten about by Friday. There are still plenty of bears who think the market is due for a correction.
Nevertheless, the vigor and speed mustered up on the futures board trickled into parts of the cash market. Some trade took place in the South, up $2.00 from last week's weighted average, at $112.00. Many feeders denied early bids and are holding out for higher prices yet. Wednesday's slaughter is estimated at 117,000 head -- down 1,000 head from a week ago and 4,000 head from a year ago.
Closing boxed beef prices are mixed: choice down $0.50 ($230.05) and select up healthily, up $3.10 ($206.67), Wednesday's boxed beef movement totaled 113 loads (49.15 loads of choice, 28.28 loads of select, 4.60 loads of trim and 30.77 loads of ground beef).
THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: $2.00 to $3.00 higher. It's not completely out of reach to think that prices could jump $2.00 to $3.00 this week with packers in need of cattle and plenty anxious to get cattle sooner rather than later to keep up with robust boxed beef prices while they last.
The feeder cattle market closed Wednesday with more spark and excitement than did the live cattle market. November feeder cattle were up $2.40, January and March feeders were up $3.20 and April feeders up $2.85. Across the board, futures rallied and closed the day significantly higher. On an estimated run of 5,294 head (down 4,336 head from the previous week) OKC West in El Reno, Oklahoma, sold feeder steers mostly steady to $3.00 lower, with the biggest decline on heavy six weights. Feeder heifers were steady. It was noted that cold and wet conditions, coupled with winter weather advisories over the last few days, hindered the sales total volume of calves. The CME feeder cattle index 10/29/19: up $0.25 at $145.08.
Despite the cash market barking lower, the lean hog futures complex latched onto the energy and momentum built in the cattle complex and closed higher. December lean hogs closed with the highest gains, up $1.45 at $65.77. February lean hogs are up $0.65 at $73.27, and the April board is up $0.42 at $79.57. Pork cutouts totaled 305.34 loads with 251.96 loads of pork cuts and 53.38 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.28 at $75.44. The CME lean hog index 10/28/19: down $0.61 at $63.51.
THURSDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady to $1.00 lower. Despite what the futures market does, packers don't have to work hard at getting hogs bought right now, and the market needs an outlet.
"Upward & Onward," the board shouts as live cattle, feeder cattle and lean hog markets capture gains at the noon hour. December corn is up 3 1/2 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is down $0.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 6.96 points and NASDAQ is down 11.40 points.
The December live cattle market nears the $118.00 threshold with a $1.12 rally Wednesday morning. The entire complex has taken the day with storm and is rallying in both nearby and deferred contracts alike. Interest is buying mainly in the December and February contracts as Thursday (tomorrow) the October board expires. It doesn't take much of an expert to realize that this year is not a typical year with surprises and unusual behavior popping up left and right. To add to that list, fat cattle traded early again this week in parts of the South for $112, $2.00 higher than last week's weighted average. Asking prices are mostly at $115 in the South and $180 to $182 in the North. If Wednesday can close on a positive note and not give all ground it gained away on Thursday, you may see feeders doing their happy dance as they could have the potential to sell fats for higher money again this week. A lot will depend on the board's ability to keep its gains and how the next couple of days treat the boxed beef market.
Fed Cattle Exchange listed a total of 433 head of heifers with three lots in Kansas and one lot in Texas. Two lots sold in Kansas at $112, with the third lot bid up to $112.75, but the offer was passed. The lot in Texas was bid up to $112.25, but that offer was passed as well.
Midday boxed beef cutouts are mixed: choice down $0.47 ($230.08) and select up $3.40 ($206.97) with a boxed beef movement of 70 loads (30.50 loads of choice cuts, 15.62 loads of select cuts, 0 loads of trim and 24.01 loads of ground beef).
The feeder cattle market moves higher Wednesday and etches toward the resistance plane of $147.00 established in early May. If feeders can negotiate the fat cattle trade strategically this week and claim prices $1.00 to $2.00 higher, the feeder cattle market should be able to rally off of some of the fat cattle market's energy. November feeder cattle are up $0.57 at $146.05, January feeder cattle are up $0.60 at $142.22 with nearby and deferred contracts all rallying at the same progressive pace.
Lean hog contracts weren't getting left in the dust this Wednesday. December lean hogs are up $1.40 at $65.72, February lean hogs are $0.67 at $73.27 as the entire complex rallies with support except for the February 2021 contract. Nearby contracts are gaining more and more support in cumulative volume, but the May 2020 contract can hardly pay anyone enough money to give it some interest.
The projected lean hog index for 10/29/19 is down $0.38 at $63.13, and the actual lean hog index for 10/28/19 is down $0.61 at $63.51. Prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.40 with a weighted average of $51.28, ranging from $47.00 to $52.49 on 5,850 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $52.17. Pork cutouts totaled 186.72 loads with 155.94 loads of pork cuts and 30.78 loads of trim. Pork cutout values are down $0.01 at $76.71.
Activity is yet to develop in cash cattle trade, but firm support in futures and wholesale beef values help solidify expectations of higher cash prices. Although asking prices are starting to pop up, feedlot managers remain hesitant to price cattle too early in the week in the event continued underlying support in the complex leaves revenue on the table once the dust clears. Additional bids and asking prices should develop through the morning Wednesday, although active trade may not be seen until sometime Thursday or Friday. Given the fact that cash cattle prices have steadily moved higher each of the last six weeks, a continuation of that trend higher is expected, especially with the help of active boxed beef gains through the last several days. Futures trade is expected mixed to generally higher with the generally bullish tone through the live cattle complex helping to spark additional underlying support. Even though prices were not able to secure active gains Tuesday, the continued steady support developing in the complex adds to the "slow but steady" shift higher seen over the last several weeks. October futures are nearing expiration, which could spark some additional front-month volatility, but traders continue to focus on December contracts reaching for the $117 per cwt levels through the end of the month. Wednesday slaughter runs are expected at 118,000 head.
Underlying pressure in lean hog futures is expected to continue through the rest of October and likely taint early November trade as continued questions of whether a partial trade deal will be signed in November when the presidents of China and the U.S. will be on hand at the G-20 summit. Although the pork industry continues to watch for a partial trade deal, uncertainty grows. China's pork production remains devastated by African swine fever, and our pork industry's assumption is China will supplement its need for pork by aggressively importing U.S. pork. But if that is not their plan, it could minimize the overall impact on the hog and pork industry of any partial trade deal with China. It is good to remember that China has been dedicated over the last decade to becoming self-sufficient in pork production. Even with the devastation of African swine fever, this still seems to be their goal. So any additional pork exports to China that do develop are expected to be a short-term plan on their part until they can rebuild hog production supplies domestically. That does not change the fact that pork prices continue to soar in China and at some point they should buy additional pork from us in order to limit consumer price levels for the sake of their economic health. Cash hog values are expected to be steady to $1 per cwt lower, with most bids $1 lower. Expected slaughter Wednesday is 490,000 head. Saturday runs are expected at 235,000 head.
Nearby live cattle futures continue to churn higher as steady to firm buying steadily moves into the complex. This has moved prices to six-month highs with traders looking for additional long-term support based on tighter beef cattle supplies during early 2020.
Feeder cattle futures continue to have a hard time sparking underlying support despite the continued gains in live cattle trade. The seasonal increase in spring calves moving to market, has dampened market expectations with November contracts still unable to breach resistance levels of $146.07 per cwt established in mid-October.
The firmness in futures trade and continued aggressive moves higher in boxed beef values are creating expectations of firm to higher cash cattle trade by the end of the week.
Questions of "how much longer can the rally continue" keep coming to mind as live cattle futures have been on this steady price incline since early September. This could bring about a moderate to firm correction with limited long-term concern, but quickly disrupt the momentum being built in the complex.
Continued talk that a partial trade deal with China may be ready for signatures at the G-20 summit in November remains the dangling carrot that still is giving a sense of hope that active buyer support will develop before the end of the year.
Nearby lean hog futures continue to struggle to maintain recent buyer support. December futures are currently within striking distance of breaking through initial support levels of $64.25 per cwt set in mid-September. A move below these levels would put the next target near $60 per cwt once again.
Pork cutout values sparked renewed support Tuesday, indicating additional buyer strength is moving into the complex. This support is based on continued strong domestic demand that cannot be understated given the aggressive supply glut the entire pork complex remains entrenched in.
Growing uncertainty of China's intent to buy U.S. pork ahead of any partial trade agreement or after puts additional tension on the entire complex. None-the-less, traders continue to focus on the upcoming export sales report Thursday with hopes that active China sales will appear.
When it comes down to it, livestock markets typically don't perform well on Tuesdays, just like most of the workforce dreads Mondays. Tuesday's market didn't squander all of Monday's gains in the live cattle and feeder cattle markets, but the lean hog sector did struggle. Prices are down on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.48 with a weighted average of $51.12. December corn is up 2 1/4 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is down $1.00. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 19.30 points and NASDAQ is down 49.14 points.
Nearby live cattle contracts warmed up after the noon hour and successfully continued into the closing hour when the live cattle market closed predominately mixed. Nearby contracts up $0.10 to $0.32, while deferred contracts are down $0.07 to $0.40. December live cattle are up $0.22 at $116.82, February live cattle are up $0.25 at $121.97 and the April board (posting the highest prices) is up $0.32 at $123.52. The near expiring October contract closed Tuesday at $113.35 and the market hasn't been that high since early May. Scattered bids have started to float around in Texas, bids of $110.00 have been placed in Nebraska and asking prices are mostly at $115.00.
Closing boxed beef prices are higher again: choice up $2.65 ($230.55) and select is up $2.81 ($203.57) with a total boxed beef movement of 108 loads (54.44 loads of choice cuts, 22.61 loads of select cuts, 12.33 loads of trim and 18.70 loads of ground beef). Tuesday's slaughter totaled 117,000 head - down 2,000 head from both a week and year ago.
WEDNESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: $1.00 to $2.00 higher. With boxed beef prices roaring, packers are going to want to keep processing speeds as energetic as possible and get as many cattle processed while demand remains.
Feeder cattle contracts closed mostly lower, though the November contract was able to trade within Monday's means and closed near Monday's open. November feeder cattle are down $0.25 at $145.47 and January feeder cattle are steady at $141.60. On an estimated run of 6,108 head (up 449 head from the previous week) Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage, Missouri sold feeder steers and heifers steady to $4.00 lower, and yearlings steady to $2.00 lower. The CME feeder cattle index 10/28/19: $144.83, up $0.48.
The lean hog complex couldn't stay as spry as other markets were able to on Tuesday. Giving up anywhere from $0.05 to $1.35, lean hog markets closed lower. Being pressured by huge supply, beef products taking the limelight at retail, and having little to no insight to nearby export potential -- it's easy to see why hog markets are feeling the pinch. Pork cutouts for the day totaled 411.25 loads with 350.54 loads of pork cuts and 60.72 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.69 at $76.72. The CME lean hog index 10/25/19: down $0.97 at $64.12.
WEDNESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: $1.00 lower. With packer's margins getting smaller in the hog sector, there's little chance that higher prices are in store for cash hogs with supply booming out of every barn.
Most folks dread Mondays, but the livestock complex rolls its eyes and kicks the door while walking into the office every Tuesday. The market is up and trading (barely), it's too early for cash cattle business to get under way and markets just aren't interested in stepping to the plate to bat on Tuesdays typically. This Tuesday market is nothing but exactly that. Despite having a positive Monday market, Tuesday's market couldn't care less whether or not Monday's market closed strong. All three livestock markets are approaching the noon hour somewhat lower, with live cattle only being down slightly with some contracts trying to gain support and the lean hog market being down the most. December corn is down 1/2 cent per bushel and December soybean meal is down $1.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 3.63 points and NASDAQ is down 27.35 points.
As more time passes on the live cattle complex, it shows some interest in rallying on nearby contracts. December live cattle are up $0.10 at $116.67, February live cattle are steady at $121.72 and April live cattle are up $0.10 at $123.30. Deferred contracts still aren't ready to wake up and smell the sunshine. There are 433 head of heifers consigned to Wednesday's Fed Cattle Exchange. One pen from Texas, and three pens from Kansas all with one-to-nine-day delivery. Cash cattle trade has yet to develop.
Midday boxed beef cutouts are higher: choice up $3.38 ($231.28) and select up $2.71 ($203.47) with 48 total loads of movement (21.14 loads of choice cuts, 9.49 loads of select cuts, 8.27 loads of trim and 9.32 loads of ground beef).
Feeder cattle markets are mostly lower. November feeder cattle are down $0.10 at $145.62, January feeder cattle are up $0.07 at $141.67 and March feeder cattle contracts are down $0.12 at $140.72. Given that it's still too early in the week for exciting cash cattle trade to happen, that the market is immersed with weaned calves at sale barns and that most of cow-calf country has gotten snow the last couple of days -- Tuesday's market doesn't have a lot of cards stacked in its favor. As the week moves on and the fat cattle market has the potential to lock in gains again, the feeder cattle market may be able to muster up strength then.
The lean hog market tumbles into Tuesday opening lower than Monday's close and showing no mercy in nearby contracts. Nearby contracts are down the most, although contracts through the lean hog complex are being pushed lower. December lean hogs are down $1.75 at $63.90, February lean hogs are down $1.77 at $72.20, and the April contract is down $1.20 at $78.70.
The projected lean hog index for 10/28/19 is down $0.61 at $63.51, and the actual lean hog index for 10/25/19 is down $0.97 at $64.12. Prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.73 with a weighted average of $50.87, ranging from $47.00 to $53.16 on 12,915 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $52.88. Pork cutouts totaled 208.27 loads with 189.27 loads of pork cuts and 19.10 loads of trim. Pork cutout values are higher, up $1.13 at $77.16.
Cash cattle prices last week increased 40 cents per cwt from the previous week with an average price of $110.13 per cwt. This underlying fundamental support may continue to develop through the end of the month, although no significant cash trade is expected to develop over the next couple of days. With Friday landing in November, it is uncertain just how interested packers will be to get weekly cash cattle trades on the books before the calendar changes. This is likely to be a company-by-company decision, and could determine how aggressive packers get about sourcing cattle during the last two days of the month. Asking prices are still undeveloped, as are bids, but more interest is expected as the week continues. The underlying tone of live cattle futures continues firm with additional strong long-term gains developing Monday, setting fall highs as December contracts closed at $116.60 per cwt. The slow, but steady gains in live cattle have done well for the complex and continue to build firm, underlying support through the market. Tuesday seems to be the day when a market will quickly change directions, if one is seen, creating some uncertainty about continued market support even though the underlying tone of the complex remains strong. A light to moderate price correction would not be shocking given the continued upward motion seen in the complex since early September. Tuesday slaughter runs are expected at 117,000 head.
Firm, early week support slowly trickled into lean hog futures Monday. A phase 1 trade deal appears to be on track for signatures in November, but a lot of questions remain on what this will mean for U.S. pork sales to China. The fact that December lean hog futures have fallen nearly $7 per cwt since October trade talks and the last indication of active export sales to China indicates the entire market needs more information and direct results before they are truly convinced this phase of a trade deal will significantly help pork prices. There has been very little mention of pork during these negotiations and that is concerning to the complex, especially following China's announcement Monday that they will end the ban on U.S. chicken imports. Large hog supplies continue to burden the market, eroding cash and wholesale pork support through late October; this is likely to remain a major issue the rest of the year. Cash hog values are expected to be steady to $1 per cwt lower, with most bids expected $1 lower. Expected slaughter Tuesday is at 490,000 head.
Live cattle futures continue to march steadily higher, with December futures holding well above $116 per cwt. This continued strength accounts for a generally unchecked rally of $17.43 since early September.
Weekly showlists continue generally strong, with increases in all areas except Kansas. Despite moving past seasonal peak levels seen over the last month, current showlists are running nearly 20,000 head above year ago levels.
Firm cash market gains developed last week, continuing the upward rally to a six-week stretch. Given the support in beef values and futures trade early in the week, feedlot managers appear intent on continuing higher prices for a seventh consecutive week.
Feeder cattle futures remain stuck in a sideways pattern, with limited underlying support despite recent gains in live cattle trade. The inability to break through October highs over the next week may continue to define a moderate sideways trend through November.
Firm support in lean hog futures moved prices away from three-week lows. This may help solidify additional buyer support as traders look for positive long-term strength over the near future.
The amount of market-ready hogs coming to market continues to burden the entire system. This is limiting buyer support, leaving prices hovering near the bottom end of short-term trading ranges.
Strong summer premiums continue to hold, currently near $30 per cwt above December price levels. Although seasonal support remains evident, the focus on better export trade over the next several months is still keeping traders optimistic.
Cash hog prices continue to erode lower, as packers remain flooded with available hogs and, following the latest market downturn in futures prices over the last three weeks, are intent on protecting plant margins, if possible, through the end of the month.
Monday's markets closed higher in all three livestock contracts, and most surprisingly, even in the lean hog market. Live cattle contracts were expected to close higher with the neutral Cattle on Feed report and robust boxed beef prices, but the lean hog market rallied to surprise many. Prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $1.10 with a weighted average of $51.98. December corn is down 2 3/4 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is up $0.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 132.66 points and NASDAQ is up 82.87 points.
Live cattle futures closed with support intertwined throughout the complex. The expiring October contract closed the highest, up $0.90 at $112.87 and December live cattle closed up $0.52 at $116.60. More and more interest in gaining in the live cattle contracts, with most interest developing in the December 2019 contract. Last week secured the live cattle market's sixth week worth of rallied support. Given that showlists are mixed going into this week, that boxed beef prices are soaring and that packers have plenty of incentive to keep harvesting cattle at a vigorous rate -- cash cattle trade (though still too early to develop) could be set up for higher money again this week. Closing boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $2.46 ($227.90) and select up $0.92 ($200.76) with 81 loads total of boxed beef movement (37.07 loads of choice cuts, 20.83 loads of select cuts, 11.72 loads of trim and 11.55 loads of ground beef). Monday's slaughter totaled 118,000 head, even with both a week and year ago.
TUESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: $1 higher. Tuesday most likely won't have any fat cattle trade, but when trade does occur it will most likely be for higher money this week.
On an estimated run of 6,450 head at Crawford Livestock Market in Crawford, Nebraska, on Friday steers sold unevenly while heifers weighing 450 pounds sold $8.00 higher, 400-pound and 500-pound heifers sold $4.00 to $5.00 higher and 550-pound heifers sold $1.00 higher compared to the previous week. Most calves were preconditioned and weaned right off the cow; demand was considered moderate to good with some coming from bids off the internet. October's expiring contract closed $0.30 lower at $145.40, and the November feeder cattle contract closed $0.35 higher at $145.72. The CME feeder cattle index for 10/25/19: $144.35, down $0.41.
The lean hog market jumped Monday, letting the noon hour pass and then securing higher prices at the close. Though still very limited in cumulative interest, contracts were able to find a wide-range of support in both nearby and deferred contracts and closed up $0.72 higher in the December 2019 contract. There is a possibility that prices latched onto the momentum building in the cattle contracts. Pork cutouts totaled 282.17 loads with 242.18 loads of pork cuts and 40.00 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.53 at $76.03. The CME lean hog index for 10/24/19: $65.09, down $0.40.
TUESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Despite Monday's board closing higher, it would be a tough game of cards to expect Tuesday's cash hog market to be higher. With packer's margins getting tighter in the hog sector, buyers aren't going to give easy money away.