It's been a wild week for the cattle contracts as support was ample early in the week and then with the corn market's surge the feeder cattle contracts have seemed to fall out of bed. Meanwhile the lean hog market is accepting any support the marketplace cares to share and thankfully is seeing some continued support throughout the pork cutout values. March corn is up 9 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is up $0.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 10.68 points and NASDAQ is down 25.46 points.
The live cattle contracts have been met with renewed support following Tuesday and Wednesday's lower closes. February live cattle are down $0.02 at $114.42, April live cattle are up $0.07 at $118.67 and June live cattle are up $0.22 at $114.10. Heading into the New Year's holiday, boxed beef prices are lower but that isn't expected to continue once the calendar turns to the New Year. The cash cattle market has been very quiet without any bids renewed following Wednesday's stronger trade. Cattle in the South traded live for $111, which is $1.00 higher than a week ago; and Northern dressed cattle sold anywhere from $175 to $176, which is $2.00 to $4.00 stronger than last week's trade.
Beef net sales of 14,900 mt reported for 2020 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 82% from the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for Japan (3,900 mt, including decreases of 1,100 mt), China (3,100 mt, including decreases of 300 mt) and South Korea (2,900 mt, including decreases of 200 mt).
Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $1.28 ($209.25) and select down $2.99 ($196.87) with a movement of 113 loads (72.32 loads of choice, 25.37 loads of select, 4.58 loads of trim and 10.26 loads of ground beef).
As the corn market continues to climb to highs not seen in the last six years, the feeder cattle market is letting Thursday's trade slide lower not wanting to have to face another battle in 2020. January feeders are down $0.17 at $138.35, March feeders are down $0.20 at $139.55 and April feeders are down $0.55 at $141.10. Next week the feeder cattle complex should be more active as traders step back into the market excited to have a normal week of trade, and thankfully some larger feeder cattle sales will be debuted which are expected to be met with strong demand.
With the arrival of 2021 being a mere few hours away, the spot February contract is rally over $2.00 stronger as the pork market is ready for an upbeat turn of any measure. February lean hogs are up $2.40 at $70.02, April lean hogs are up $1.32 at $72.40 and June lean hogs are up $0.90 at $82.85.
Pork net sales of 7,700 mt reported for 2020 were down 53% from the previous week and 73 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases primarily for Mexico (10,300 mt, including decreases of 900 mt), El Salvador (1,700 mt) and China (1,600 mt, including decreases of 4,000 mt).
The projected lean hog index for 12/30/2020 is up $0.21 at $60.07 and the actual index for 12/29/2020 is down $0.07 at $59.86. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $2.17 with a weighted average of $51.28, ranging from $47.75 to $53.47 on 4,903 head and a five-day rolling average of $49.81. Pork cutouts values total 133.00 loads with 103.98 loads of pork cuts and 29.02 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $8.70, $81.35.