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Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday Closing Livestock Market Update - Cash Cattle Stuck at $114

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Live cattle closed lower, feeder cattle closed lower and even the lean hog market closed mostly lower, rounding the week out on a sour note for the livestock contracts. Heading into next week's trade, confirming how much more upside the market has in the lean hog sector and pinpointing how aggressive packers will be is what will be on producers' minds over the weekend. Hog prices closed higher on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $0.58 with a weighted average of $78.52 on 6,440 head. May corn is down 2 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $1.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 469.64 points and NASDAQ is up 72.91 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

We knew that this week's kill was going to be big, and thankfully the week's estimated figures are projecting that a successful 666,000 head were processed this week, which is 20.7% more than a week ago and 6.1% more than a year ago. But still, even with boxed beef prices closing higher and slaughter running to regain lost ground from last week's shutdown, the cash cattle market can't seem to catch any substantial momentum. There was another light round of trade that developed in parts of the South at $114 and then later in the day at $114.50. Northern cattle traded this week traded from $178.50 to $182. Feedlots played their cards wisely and waited until late in the week to trade, but with packers having a magnitude of committed cattle for this timeframe already spoken for, their need to jump into the cash market wasn't enough to move the market substantially higher. Friday's slaughter is estimated at 119,000 head, 10,000 head more than a week ago and 4,000 head more than a year ago. Saturday's kill is projected at 64,000 head.

The live cattle contracts will roll into next week's trade with April taking the front and center stage as the spot contract. The live cattle complex closed lower as traders stepped to the sidelines, unsure of where the April contract will take the market. April live cattle closed $1.67 lower at $120.00, June live cattle closed $1.07 lower at $118.42 and August live cattle closed $1.10 lower at $117.05.

Boxed beef prices closed higher: choice up $0.14 ($240.53) and select up $0.94 ($229.73) with a movement of 59 loads (43.71 loads of choice, 7.41 loads of select, 4.86 loads of trim and 2.56 loads of ground beef).

MONDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to somewhat higher. It seems like the cash cattle market has been a broken record as of late saying, "maybe next week," as time and time again feedlots aspire to trade cattle higher but packers side-pass having to really support the market.

FEEDER CATTLE:

The corn contracts scaled mostly lower throughout the day, but the feeder cattle contracts weren't able to entice traders into investing within the feeder cattle arena. March feeders closed $1.75 lower at $138.67, April feeders closed $2.50 lower at $142.57 and May feeders closed $2.15 lower at $145.07. Early this week, feeders were sought with extreme buyer aggression, but as the week played on, and buyers secured the cattle they needed. At Mitchell Livestock Auction in Mitchell, South Dakota, compared to a week ago, feeder steers weighing 600 to 850 pounds were steady to $3.00 lower, while steers weighing 850 to 900 pounds were $2.00 to $4.00 lower. Heifers weighing 600 to 700 pounds were steady to $3.00 lower, and heifers weighing 700 to 900 pounds were steady to $3.00 higher. The amount of flesh on the feeder calves played a big role in this week's prices. Cattle that were softer in their condition were as aggressively sought after. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for Feb. 15: down $0.57, $138.91.

LEAN HOGS:

Even though packers were anxious to get another round of hogs committed Friday afternoon -- and didn't mind paying higher prices again -- the market is starting to feel some pressure as the nearby futures contracts closed weaker and pork cutout values dove lower. April lean hogs closed $2.60 lower at $87.15, June lean hogs closed $1.57 lower at $94.17 and July lean hogs closed $0.92 lower at $94.55. Given that the market saw multiple accounts of weaker pork cutout prices throughout this past week's trade, I'm left on edge about how much more upside potential the short term truly has. Pork cutouts totaled 213.51 loads with 191.03 loads of pork cuts and 22.48 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.29, $93.84. Friday's slaughter is estimated at 488,000 head, steady with a week ago and 5,000 head more than a year ago. Saturday's slaughter is estimated at 174,000 head. The CME Lean Hog Index for Feb. 24: up $0.83, $79.95.

MONDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Lower. After seeing some hesitation start to develop in the lean hog market, next week's cash hog trade could be weaker as packers bought a slew of hogs this week.




Friday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Contracts are Unsupported, Trading Lower

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Livestock futures continue to grind lower, showing no interest in trading higher as traders are sidelined, not wanting to support the contracts until more fundamental clarity arises. The cash cattle market is still painfully quiet with just a few bids of $114 offered in Kansas and Texas. May corn is down 4 1/2 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $3.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 137.51 points and NASDAQ is up 214.38 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Continuing with the same depressed trade as Thursday, the live cattle futures are still trading lower and the cash cattle market has yet to attract any substantial interest. April live cattle are down $1.27 at $120.40, June live cattle are down $1.00 at $118.47 and August live cattle are down $1.10 at $117.05. Largely, traders are stepping back, not interested in supporting the futures even though this week's slaughter is expected to be the biggest of the year thus far, and boxed beef prices are higher. Bids of $114 have surfaced in Kansas and Texas but feedlots are bound and determined to get at least $115 to $116 in the South and $185 or more in the North. This week's trade could be light if business doesn't pick up before the day's end.

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction on Friday listed a total of 790 head (Texas 662 head, Kansas 54 head, Oklahoma 74 head), of which none sold as they did not meet the reserve prices of $115. Opening prices were at $113.50, high bids ranged from $113.50 to $114.50.

Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.85 ($241.24) and select up $0.99 ($229.78) with a movement of 31 loads (21.30 loads of choice, 2.71 loads of select, 4.82 loads of trim and 1.99 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Following the last two days of noteworthy growth, feeder cattle futures are now back to trading lower as trader interest has grown null. March feeders are down $1.45 at $138.97, April feeders are down $2.05 at $143.02 and May feeders are down $1.67 at $145.55. Given the questions that still linger around the live cattle market, the feeder cattle contracts are on edge about the short-term. With cost of gains high and the cash cattle market having a hard time drawing any packer interest, the feeder cattle market sits skeptically, waiting to see where the market trends.

LEAN HOGS:

The big question on everyone's mind is has the hog rally seen its peak? Futures are trading lower, but cash prices are still rallying. Wednesday afternoon pork cutouts closed lower, but Thursday afternoon cutouts closed higher yet again! Whatever the market is or isn't, it's hard to deny that in the last three days the market hasn't seen unified support throughout the futures, cash and pork cutout values like it did earlier in the week. Next week's trade could be pressured as there's been some pullback late this week. April lean hogs are down $1.37 at $89.92, June lean hogs are down $0.85 at $94.90 and July lean hogs are down $0.77 at $94.70.

The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/25/2021 is up $0.75 at $80.70, and the actual index for 2/24/2021 is up $0.82 at $79.95. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $2.15 with a weighted average of $77.28, ranging from $70.00 to $82.00 on 4,368 head and a five-day rolling average of $73.32. Pork cutouts total 139.63 loads with 120.98 loads of pork cuts and 18.66 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.52, $94.61.




Friday Morning Livestock Market Update - A Day of Reckoning

General Comments:

Feeder cattle were able to maintain a modest close Thursday, but live cattle futures did not fare as well. Pressure did not only come from the inability of the market to capitalize on Wednesday's strength but also from a disappointing weekly Export Sales report with exports down 63% from the previous week and down 66% for the four-week average. Futures may be indicating a temporary top has been reached, leaving prices to drift for a period of time. Packers still have not stepped up to the plate this week with the market only lightly tested. Friday will be a day of reckoning to see whether feedlots will hold for higher prices, sell some cattle steady with last week, or possibly hold them another week with potentially no further benefit. Some trading at steady money does not bode well for the complex. April continues to hold a strong premium to cash, but that has been slowly eroding. February ceases trading Friday, leaving April as lead month. Weakness of boxed beef certainly does not help matters much.

Another jump in cash hog prices did not trigger strong buying of futures. Pressure stemmed from lower export sales done 23% from the previous week and down 40% from the four-week average. The trade has been anticipating a slowing of exports for quite some time, but it has not happened. Now it may begin to show weakness, which could top the market. However, very strong cash may override anything negative in the near term. Technical traders may continue to try and pick the top due to the market being substantially overbought. Friday might indicate near-term price direction. Projected Saturday hog slaughter is 232,000 head.

BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1)

April takes over as front-month on Monday with futures holding a stiff premium to cash. Demand is generally strong into April keeping feedlots, setting their sights on higher cash.

1)

The pattern of cattle futures has been one day up and then one day down over the past week or so. If this holds, the market may move sideways for a time.

2)

The reopening of restaurants and further stimulus money may increase overall demand for beef. This, added to already strong demand, may indicate the current price is too cheap.

2) The large decline of export sales is a real concern. If this trend continues, funds may liquidate positions more heavily.
3)

Hogs futures printed new highs Friday before slipping back. This indicates the uptrend remains intact.

3)

Some traders may want to bank profits before the weekend and end of the month. This would increase the selling interest and push futures lower.

4) Open interest continues to increase with minor price setbacks viewed by traders as a buying opportunity. 4) High cash prices may be slowing international demand, which would back up more pork into the domestic market. More supply could result in lower prices as domestic demand would need to be stimulated to keep product moving.



Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thursday Closing Livestock Market Update - Export Report Sends Live Cattle and Lean Hogs Mostly Lower

GENERAL COMMENTS:

After seeing Thursday's bearish export report, both the live cattle and lean hog contracts scaled mostly lower, which lent an opportunity for the feeder cattle contracts to trade higher amid slightly weaker corn prices. Hog prices closed sharply higher again on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $2.24 with a weighted average of $77.94 on 12,030 head. May corn is down 7 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $4.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 559.85 points and NASDAQ is down 478.54 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

The live cattle contracts didn't fare well after Thursday's weak export report, but feedlots aren't willing to accept the market's recent weakness as a reason for why cash cattle prices should be steady this week when boxed beef prices are as lofty as they are. April live cattle closed $0.55 lower at $121.67, June live cattle closed $0.60 lower at $119.50 and August live cattle closed $0.47 lower at $118.15. There was some trade that took place Thursday afternoon, and though it would have been best for the cash cattle market to have all sellers wait until Friday to trade to try to milk as much out of this week as possible, feedlots in the North did demand $182, which is $1.00 more than last week's trade. There was only a handful of cattle sold in the South for $114, which is mostly steady with last week's trade. Come Friday, the market will look for buyer interest to be more aggressive. As the February board prepares to expire, feedlots know that the springtime is their chance to move the cash cattle market higher before the dog days of summer, and they don't want to squander this opportunity after enduring 2020's sorry prices. Thursday's slaughter is estimated at 121,000 head, 10,000 head more than a week ago and 2,000 head less than a year ago.

Thursday's actual slaughter data shared that, for the week ending Feb. 13, carcass weights were steady to slightly higher. Steers averaged 919 pounds, which is steady with the previous week, but heifers gained an additional two pounds to average 850 pounds

Beef net sales of 8,500 mt reported for 2021 were down 63% from the previous week and 66% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were South Korea (3,800 mt), Japan (3,100 mt) and Mexico (700 mt).

Boxed beef prices closed lower: choice down $0.36 ($240.39) and select down $1.00 ($228.79) with a movement of 92 loads (62.74 loads of choice, 10.73 loads of select, 3.63 loads of trim and 14.59 loads of ground beef).

FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to $1.00 stronger. It's a positive sign that both the North and South still expect business to develop before the week's end, but packers are doing everything in their power to avoid paying more for cattle this week than last. $1.00 higher isn't out of the picture if feedlots can wait patiently.

FEEDER CATTLE:

While the rest of the livestock contracts closed mostly lower, the feeder cattle contracts capitalized on the opportunity to attract traders and trade mildly higher throughout Thursday's trade. As both the lean hog and live cattle contracts veered lower, the feeder cattle contracts had the opportunity to close higher as corn prices endured some modestly pressure. March feeders closed $0.05 higher at $140.42, April feeders closed $0.32 higher at $145.07 and May feeders closed $0.42 higher at $147.22. At Hub City Livestock Auction in Aberdeen, South Dakota, compared to last week, the best test on steers was on those weighing 550 to 600 pounds sold mostly steady, 651 to 700 pound steers sold $2.00 to $4.00 lower, those weighing 701 to 900 pounds sold mostly steady with instances of $2.00 lower of those weighing 700 to 800 pounds. The best test on heifers was on those weighing 600 to 650 pounds, which sold $2.00 to $4.00 higher, the 651- to 750-pound heifers sold steady to at times $3.00 lower on those weighing 700 to 750 pounds. Demand was good throughout the sale, though it was noted that some cattle are starting to carry tags as warmer temperatures have let the ground thaw in some parts. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for Feb. 24: down $0.63, $139.48.

LEAN HOGS:

The futures market may have closed mixed for the hog contracts, but the demand from the countryside remains jaw-dropping. April lean hogs closed $0.32 higher at $89.75, June lean hogs closed $0.15 lower at $95.75 and July lean hogs closed $0.05 higher at $95.47. The contracts were pressured after seeing Thursday's disappointing export report, but when the cash market keeps pushing hog prices higher, and on a noteworthy movement of 12,030 head while the afternoon's pork cutout value nearly closes $3.00 stronger -- the market is bursting at the seams to continue this upward rally. After Wednesday's weaker pork cutout close, there was a lot of pressure on the market to see how Thursday's cutout value would fare, but Thursday came back to push the market substantially higher. Pork cutouts total 281.69 loads with 263.30 loads of pork cuts and 18.39 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $2.99, $95.13. Thursday's slaughter is estimated at 497,000 head, 18,000 head more than a week ago and 1,000 less than a year ago. The CME Lean Hog Index for Feb. 23: up $0.96, $79.12.

Thursday's actual slaughter data for the week ending Feb. 13 showed lighter weights for the hog industry. Live weights averaged 290 pounds, which is down 3 pounds from the previous week, and dressed weights fell 2 pounds to average 217 pounds.

Pork net sales of 25,600 mt reported for 2021 were down 23% from the previous week and 40% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Japan (4,100 mt), China (3,700 mt) and South Korea (3,200 mt).

FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady to somewhat higher. Packers have dived head first into the cash hog market this past week and it's looking like the rally is going to healthily continue into Friday's business.




Thursday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Lighter Exports Send Lean Hogs Lower

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Feeder cattle futures are rallying while the corn market teeters lower and the live cattle and lean hog contracts are licking their wounds from a lighter export report. Some more cash cattle interest has developed as packers are offering $114 in parts of Kansas and Nebraska. But feedlots aren't interested in seeing the market trade steady again this week. May corn is down 7 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $0.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 290.26 points and NASDAQ is down 302.70 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Live cattle futures are being pressured to trade mostly lower as the market wonders where the week's cash cattle market will end up and where the week's official slaughter count will land and is absorbing the aftermath of a weaker export report. April live cattle are down $0.20 at $122.00, June live cattle are down $0.32 at $119.77 and August live cattle are down $0.37 at $118.22. Following the specialty Fed Cattle Exchange Thursday morning, the cash cattle market has seen a little more interest develop as bids of $114 have surfaced in both Kansas and Nebraska. Packers would love nothing more than to get their cattle bought this week at $114 and avoid moving the market to $115 (or heaven forbid $116), but feedlots are getting tired of these doggish cash cattle prices. The later the week plays out, the more likely packers are going to be laying $115 on the table; with aggressive slaughter speeds, feedlots should hold their ground.

The Special Fed Cattle Exchange Auction hosted Thursday morning listed a total of 790 head (Texas 662 head, Kansas 54 head, Oklahoma 74 head) of which none sold as they did not meet the reserve prices ranging from $115 to $116. Opening prices were at $113.50, high bids ranged from $114.25 to $114.50. Seeing that no cattle sold on Thursday's Special FCE Auction, the market will host another specialty sale Friday morning to offer the cattle to buyers.

Beef net sales of 8,500 metric tons (mt) reported for 2021 were down 63% from the previous week and 66% from the prior 4-week average. The three largest buyers were South Korea (3,800 mt), Japan (3,100 mt) and Mexico (700 mt).

Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $0.08 ($240.67) and select down $0.55 ($229.24) with a movement of 30 loads (17.06 loads of choice, 5.12 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 7.90 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Feeder cattle futures are enjoying the regression in the corn market and are trading modestly higher while the other livestock contracts are facing some modest pressure. March feeders are up $0.10 at $140.47, April feeders are up $0.40 at $145.15 and May feeders are up $0.45 at $147.25. Traders are leery of the live cattle contracts given the unknown nature of this week's cash cattle market and leery of the lean hog market because of the weaker export report. All of which gives traders the green light to invest in feeder cattle contracts as it's a safe investment while demand is strong throughout sale barns and the board is far from any resistance pressure.

LEAN HOGS:

After a disappointing export report, the lean hog contracts have opted to scale lower after an incredible rally all this week. The spot April contract is still defending its higher positions, but the rest of the complex is trading mildly lower until the third quarter of 2021 which is trading with sharper losses. April lean hogs are up $0.25 at $89.67, June lean hogs are down $0.27 at $95.65 and July lean hogs are down $0.30 at $95.12.

Pork net sales of 25,600 mt reported for 2021 were down 23% from the previous week and 40% from the prior 4-week average. The three largest buyers were Japan (4,100 mt), China (3,700 mt) and South Korea (3,200 mt).

The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/24/2021 is up $0.82 at $79.95 and the actual index for 2/23/2021 is up $0.97 at $79.13. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $1.07 with a weighted average of $75.13, ranging from $70.00 to $78.00 on 5,125 head and a five-day rolling average of $72.42. Pork cutouts total 141.42 loads with 128.33 loads of pork cuts and 13.09 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $2.25, $94.39.




Thursday Morning Livestock Market Update - Follow-through Buying Expected

General Comments:

Cattle futures closed strong Wednesday led by a strong feeder cattle market. Even though live cattle futures closed higher, they mostly regained the losses on Tuesday. It will take a bit more buying of futures to turn the short-term trend back up. The market may have just completed a nice price retracement. There is some caution to be exercised here as some light cattle trade inked Thursday in the South was done at steady cash with last week. There was a willingness to let go of a few head instead of waiting until the end of the week. This could increase the resolve of packers to not increase bids as this may indicate a little crack in the wall, which could allow them to purchase cattle without having to bid up. Boxed beef did not provide much to get excited about. The February contract is expecting higher cash this week, closing Wednesday at $116.57 with two trading days remaining before April takes over as front-month.

Hogs were on fire again Wednesday with April closing limit up. There should be some follow-through buying to begin the day, but it may not continue if cash remains steady. However, strong cash Wednesday, and so far this week, may not slow down as buyers remain aggressive. Packers are having little difficulty acquiring hogs as higher prices keeps them coming to the market. The strong increase of futures Wednesday seemed to be tied to aggressive short-covering, which may overdo the market to the upside. Cutouts did not support the strength, but a decline in cutouts recently has been short-lived before trending back up again. Saturday slaughter is projected to be 232,000 as plants make up for lost production.

BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1)

Live cattle futures Wednesday regained most of the loss from Tuesday as traders were willing to buy the break. The overall trend remains up.

1)

The rebound of cattle futures may be in anticipation of stronger cash, but light cash trade Wednesday may indicate otherwise.

2)

Feedlots may be able to force packers to bid higher if they continue to hold for a higher price. Cattle need to be purchased and packers may not be able to afford another week of light business.

2) April is holding a large premium to cash and will be front-month next week. More of that premium may be eliminated similar to what has already taken place.
3)

Strong cash continues to spur hog futures to higher levels with new highs being made nearly on a daily basis. Traders hold to the adage that "the trend is your friend."

3)

If the strength Thursday is mostly tied to short-covering, that may soon run its course with the market finding itself too high and triggering selling.

4)

Demand remains strong and needs to be filled. Exports remain stronger than expected to China and may remain that way for a while.

4)

Packers have been aggressive, but now may be near having sufficient hogs purchased. Bids may then be no better than steady.




Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Wednesday Closing Livestock Market Update - Contracts Keep Gains

GENERAL COMMENTS:

It was a day of higher closes throughout the livestock complex. Lean hogs led the rally with the most gusto, but the cattle contracts were thankful to have support, given the depressed state this week has presented. Hog prices closed higher on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $2.53 with a weighted average of $75.70 on 8,824 head. March corn is up 5 1/2 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $1.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 424.51 points and NASDAQ is up 132.77 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

After trailing lower Monday and Tuesday, the live cattle contracts were happy to finally close higher. Looking at the complex and seeing where traders are most willing to invest their positions, it's key to note that August and October had stronger closes, along with the April contract. The second half of the year is looking better as feedlots pray that packers will keep processing speeds wrapped up to maximum and get front-end supplies completely worked through. At that point, feedlots will be sitting in a completely different position as the cattle that line their bunks won't be nearly as heavy, and from a numbers standpoint, there will simply be less cattle throughout the country. April live cattle closed $1.02 higher at $122.22, June live cattle closed $0.97 higher at $120.10 and August live cattle closed $1.10 higher at $118.62. In the meantime, the battle between packers and feedlots continue as packers look to add as little to the cash market as possible, and feedlots was the exact opposite outcome. There was some light trade that developed Wednesday afternoon for mostly $114 in the South, which is fully steady with last week's business, and there was some light trade that developed in Nebraska for $181, which is considered $0.50 higher than a week ago. Seeing that slaughter speeds are pushing aggressively this week, and that a hefty Saturday kill is expected, it wouldn't be surprising to see packer bids get more aggressive the longer time plays out. Wednesday's slaughter is estimated at 121,000 head, 22,000 head more than a week ago ad 2,000 head less than a year ago.

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction Wednesday listed a total of 1,199 head, of which 409 actually sold, 790 head were listed as unsold, as they did not meet the reserve prices, that ranged from $114 to $116. Opening prices ranged from $112 to $113.50, high bids ranged from $114 to $114.25. The state-by-state breakdown looks like this: Texas 1,071 total head, with 409 head sold at $114.25, 662 head unsold; Oklahoma 74 total head, all of which went unsold; Kansas 54 total head, all of which went unsold.

Boxed beef prices closed mixed: choice up $0.46 ($240.75) and select down $0.74 ($229.79) with a movement of 129 loads (78.36 loads of choice, 13.10 loads of select, 16.07 loads of trim and 21.53 loads of ground beef).

THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to somewhat higher. Packers aren't going to be easily swayed and have enough committed cattle in their supply right now to not have to dive into the cash market wildly, but with the speeds they are trying to run, they may have to give $1.00 more before the week is over if feedlots let the week play out.

FEEDER CATTLE:

The feeder cattle contracts were bound and determined to close higher when traders jumped into the market midmorning and showing the market support that it hadn't seen in the since the week began. March feeders closed $1.80 higher at $140.37, April feeders closed $2.15 higher at $144.75 and May feeders closed $1.70 higher at $146.80. With the commendable interest that feeder cattle are demanding throughout sale barns this week, the feeder cattle contracts are far enough away from resistance pressure to confidently trade higher, with fundamental backing to support traders in their decisions. At Kingsville Livestock Auction in Kingsville, Missouri, compared to their last sale two weeks ago, steers sold mostly $3.00 to $8.00 higher except for those weighing 500 to 550 pounds, which traded steady. Heifers sold steady to $5.00 higher, with the exception of the fancier heifers weighing 400 to 500 pounds, which traded as much as $10.00 higher. A heavy supply of quality cattle made their way to town and buyers were lined up ready to do business on all weights. These cattle marketed in February have battled through the temperature swings of the fall and brutal cold this winter, which makes for attractive weigh ups and less health problems for their new owners, resulting in some premium prices. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for Feb. 23: not available at this time.

LEAN HOGS:

Sporting a flashy $3.00 close, the April lean hog contract led the lean hog marketplace to higher closes, unwilling to weaken in any of its position before the day's end. April lean hogs closed $3.00 higher at $89.42, June lean hogs closed $2.27 higher at $95.90 and July lean hogs closed $1.90 higher at $95.42. The market did see a slight regression in the afternoon pork cutout value, which comes as a mixed bag to evaluate. With hog prices closing sharply higher again Wednesday afternoon (up $2.53), it doesn't seem like the market's rally is completely done with, given the higher closes on both cash and on the board. But it is undoubtedly important to note that we saw a weaker pork cutout value close. If Thursday can jump back into the market and close higher, then it simply could have been a lower day with no near-term implications, but if there's another weaker close Thursday, the market may be starting to show signs of an exhausted rally.

Pork cutouts totaled 371.34 loads with 326.39 loads of pork cuts and 44.95 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.61, 92.14. Wednesday's slaughter is estimated at 497,000 head, 22,000 head more than a week ago and steady with a year ago. The CME Lean Hog Index for Feb. 22: up $0.42, $78.16.

THURSDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. If Thursday presents another weaker pork cutout close, packers may trail off into the end of the week on a lighter note, but for now their aggression remains strong.




Wednesday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Livestock Contracts Lean Boldly Into Afternoon

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Rolling closer and closer to the noon hour, the entire livestock complex has moved to trading higher; earlier in the day the cattle futures were skeptical while the lean hog market skipped higher. Cattle futures were pressured to trade lower earlier in the week, but with support from traders now ample, the markets have seen the encouragement needed to move higher. March corn is up 5 1/2 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $1.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 297.79 points and NASDAQ is up 83.46 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Live cattle futures have jumped on board with the rest of the livestock market and are now trading higher after closing lower through the earlier part of the week. April live cattle are up $1.40 at $122.60, June live cattle are up $0.70 at $119.82 and August live cattle are up $0.90 at $118.42. The higher futures come at a great time as it could help encourage packers in their cash cattle market bids. There's been a few bids develop in Nebraska at $113 and in Texas at $114, but thus far no feedlots have jumped on the offers. It's still early in the week for cash cattle trade to develop and feedlots aren't impressed whatsoever by initial packer bids. Asking prices in the South are marked at $116 and the North has yet to share their asking prices. Packer interest should develop more through the afternoon, but it's looking like the week's cash cattle trade won't develop until Thursday or most likely Friday.

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction on Wednesday listed a total of 1,199 head, of which 409 actually sold; 790 head were listed as unsold, as they did not meet the reserve prices, which ranged from $114 to $116. Opening prices ranged from $112 to $113.50, high bids ranged from $114 to $114.25. The state-by-state breakdown looks like this: Texas 1,071 total head, with 409 head sold at $114.25, 662 head unsold; Oklahoma 74 total head, all of which went unsold; Kansas 54 total head, all of which went unsold.

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $1.11 ($241.40) and select down $0.64 ($229.89) with a movement of 81 loads (54.48 loads of choice, 5.54 loads of select, 10.32 loads of trim and 10.22 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Early Wednesday morning it didn't look like feeder cattle contracts were going to draw the trader interest necessary to move higher, but as the market approached midmorning, the market had a change of heart and feeders are trading fully higher. March feeders are up $1.45 at $140.02, April feeders are up $1.75 at $144.35 and May feeders are up $1.32 at $146.42. The corn market is having a modest rally, trading anywhere from 4 to 6 cents higher in the nearby contracts. Largely the aggressive buyer demand throughout the countryside this week for feeders has pushed the market and encouraged higher trade amid modest corn gains.

LEAN HOGS

Breaking out well ahead of Tuesday's gains, the lean hog contracts are showing no signs of weakness throughout Wednesday's trade and boldly continue to climb higher. April lean hogs are up $2.32 at $88.75, June lean hogs are up $1.32 at $94.95 and July lean hogs are up $1.15 at $94.67. There's a lot that can happen in the day between the morning cutout prices and afternoon cutout prices, but if the day can close with higher cutout values again, the market will most likely keep with its upward surge as there's phenomenal fundamental backing. Pinpointing when packers will feel confident in their committed supplies and back away from the market is still challenging, but at the time the market will start to see some fundamental weakness from the cash market and could begin to trade lower.

The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/23/2021 is up $0.97 at $79.13, and the actual index for 2/22/2021 is up $0.42 at $78.16. Hog prices are sharply higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $4.60 with a weighted average of $74.06, ranging from $68.00 to $76.00 on 5,869 head and a five-day rolling average of $70.72. Pork cutouts total 211.90 loads with 181.40 loads of pork cuts and 30.50 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $2.56, $95.31.




Wednesday Morning Livestock Market Update - Cattle Weakness May Influence Hogs

General Comments:

Cattle futures have become top heavy with the premium likely to erode further. The action Tuesday may have been a delayed reaction to the Cattle on Feed report, a pattern that has been seen at times in the past after previous reports. The market may be in trouble due to contracts breaking technical support, even though the market might be overall bullish. The break in futures does increase the potential that packers may not bid higher for cattle, even though they need them. They hope that lower futures might increase the desire of feedlots to sell rather than take the chance of holding them another week for no better than steady cash. But buyers may receive the directive from plants to buy at whatever price it takes to keep plants full and demand satisfied. Higher boxed beef should continue to provide support, but the concern is whether it will be enough.

Hogs again pushed higher Tuesday with only front-month April not making a new contract high even though it showed the most gain. Hog buyers are aggressive, continuing to bid higher. They want hogs now rather than playing the waiting game. Strong demand and room in cold storage is not a negative picture for price. The January Cold Storage report did show an increase of 11% from December, but stocks were 26% below a year ago. This could increase the caution of traders due to supplies increasing while prices escalated. Plants may be unwilling to move too much into storage at these high prices and may try to keep production closer to demand.

BULL SIDEBEAR SIDE
1)

Futures made a significant correction, which is healthy for the market and should increase the desire of traders to buy the break as the liquidation phase might have run its course.

1)

Cattle futures have broken support and fallen enough that funds may continue to liquidate, especially in light of the significant premium to cash in the April contract.

2)

Packers are expected to need cattle and may increase bids in order to avoid another week of limited business.

2)Markets always fall faster than they increase and live cattle are no exception as we have seen over the past week in the April contract.
3)

Hog buyers continue to remain aggressive each day as the insatiable appetite for pork knows no price bounds.

3)

Hogs remain substantially overbought, which will cause serious liquidation if anything turns negative. Funds are extremely long and just a market correction could be overdone to the downside.

4)

Frozen pork supplies are not burdensome, indicating demand is strong. Packers remain aggressive due to strength of cutouts.

4)

If packers slow down on their aggressive spending spree, it could signal they have enough for the time being, resulting in lower cash bids.




Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tuesday Closing Livestock Market Update - Lean Hogs Keep Scrapping for More

GENERAL COMMENTS:

The cattle contracts face uncertain bearish pressure, but the lean hog complex fired higher throughout Tuesday's trade, rallying on both the futures market and cash hog trade. Hog prices shot higher Tuesday afternoon on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $2.65 with a weighted average of $73.17 on 7,155 head. March corn is up 2 3/4 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is up $3.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 15.66 points and NASDAQ is down 67.85 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Even though slaughter speeds are hitting the ground running, attempting to make up for the ground lost last week, the live cattle contracts are pressured to trade lower. Come Friday, the February live cattle contract will expire, and the market's heart and soul will lie in the beloved April contract. It's disappointing to see the bearish movement pulling on the April contract, as just last week the contract was trading for $126.00. April live cattle closed $1.85 lower at $121.20, June live cattle closed $1.12 lower at $119.12 and August live cattle closed $0.87 lower at $117.52. If there's anything that's going to help this week's cash cattle market, it's going to be packers' sheer desire to get cattle processed in order to receive this week's stronger boxed beef prices, and feedlots' unwavering spirit, which is tired of cash cattle trading at these minimal prices. With the spot February contract weakening from $116 to $115, the cash cattle market most likely will fall right there -- anywhere from $115 to $116 if feedlots push hard. It was another quiet day for the cash cattle market with just a little dressed trade developing in the North but certainly not on enough cattle to call an accurate trend. Tuesday's slaughter is estimated at 122,000 head, 31,000 head more than a week ago and 1,000 head less than a year ago.

Tuesday's Cold Storage report shared that the total pounds beef in freezers were down 3% from January but up 6% from last year, totaling 519,186,000 pounds.

Tuesday's Texas Cash Pool showed mixed regards for this week's cash market as 986 head sold at $114.05. Bids from other packers ranged from $112.01, to $112.99 and to $113.50. Compared to two weeks ago (because last week's cash pool was dismissed with the weather) this week's trade was $0.15 less, but on 215 more cattle.

Boxed beef prices closed higher: choice up $0.31 ($240.29) and select up $0.55 ($230.53) with a movement of 132 loads (76.78 load of choice, 16.50 loads of select, 27.68 loads of trim and 10.59 loads of ground beef).

WEDNESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: $1.00 to $2.00 higher. There could be some cash cattle trade develop as early as Wednesday, but it's most likely that the market sees its trade develop later in the week. This week's slaughter is going to rely heavily on an aggressive Saturday kill, so feedlots shouldn't get in a hurry if the price they desire isn't appearing at the market's first offer.

FEEDER CATTLE:

The feeder cattle contracts would have loved to keep rallying from Monday's stronger close, but as the contracts eyed Tuesday's business, the market wasn't strong enough to push past the uncertainty in the live cattle arena and past the uncertainty of where corn prices will level off to keep trading higher. March feeders closed $0.75 lower at $138.57, April feeders closed $0.67 lower at $142.60 and May feeders closed $0.97 lower at $145.10. Regardless of how this week's futures market trades for the feeder cattle contracts, cattle buyers are not used to having to sit an entire week out of the market and they are buying up calves with vengeance. At Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage, Missouri, compared to two weeks ago (as last week there was no sale due to weather), steers under 600 pounds traded $9.00 to $15.00 higher, which steers over 600 pounds traded $3.00 to $4.00 higher. Heifers under 600 pounds traded $5.00 to $12.00 higher with those over 600 pounds trading up to $3.00 higher. Demand was exceptionally strong for large strings of good, quality cattle. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for Feb. 22: down $0.73, $140.39.

LEAN HOGS:

The lean hog contracts fought some pressure around the noon hour, but low and behold the complex did what it's been doing best lately and decided to push past the bearish pressure and close higher. April lean hogs closed $1.30 higher at $86.42, June lean hogs closed $0.52 higher at $93.62 and July lean hogs closed $0.37 higher at $93.52. The market's strength is honestly unmatched as both the technical and fundamental components of the marketplace walk hand-in-hand to higher levels, which is making the rally a hard force to recon with. Tuesday's afternoon cash market was on fire as packers continue to throw out money so they can secure ample supplies of hogs. Pork cutouts totaled 349.81 loads with 323.53 loads of pork cuts and 26.28 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.64, $92.75. Tuesday's hog slaughter is estimated at 497,000 head, 86,000 head more than a week ago and 4,000 head more than a year ago. Monday's hog slaughter was revised to 489,000 head. The CME Lean Hog Index for Feb. 19: up $0.31, $77.74.

Tuesday's Cold Storage Report shared that frozen pork supplies were up 11% from January's report but down 26% from a year ago, totaling 459,947,000 pounds.

WEDNESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. I'm torn between the bearish and bullish mentalities. Looking at how aggressively the market has rallied, there's got to be a top in sight, but looking at the market from both perspectives -- with technical support from the board and stout demand from both the cash hog and pork cutout values -- the market is yearning to keep its drive. Needless to say, given how aggressive packers have been over the last two weeks leads me to believe that once they sit on a secure number of hogs, their desire to continue to play in the cash market will grow null in a hurry.




Tuesday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Lean Hogs Face Some Resistance

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Early Tuesday, lean hog futures were bold and confident about their upward progression. But, as the day steps into Tuesday afternoon, more resistance is building, and the complex is growing a little more skeptical of its higher surge. Cattle futures could be trading mixed, but instead are fully lower with traders unsure of the near future. March corn is up 2 1/2 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is up $4.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 130.43 points and NASDAQ is down 254.33 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Even though we're already seeing an uptick from last week in slaughter speeds, the live cattle market is pushed lower as uncertainty takes front and center stage. The market loves seeing boxed beef prices higher, but without confirmation as to which direction the cash cattle market will move, traders are leery of supporting the market as there are still too many unknown variables. April live cattle are down $1.77 at $121.30, June live cattle are down $1.05 at $119.20 and August live cattle are down $0.90 at $117.52. The week's cash cattle market is at an utter standstill without any bids developed thus far. Some early asking prices in the South have been noted at $116, but the North has yet to place their asking prices. With packers wanting to aggressively push this week's slaughter to make up for some of the lost ground of last week's processing, there could be some interest in the cash cattle market. But it won't come easy nor at the prices desired. For the next couple of weeks packers have ample supplies of committed cattle already spoken for, which mitigates their need to dive into the cash cattle market headfirst.

Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.65 ($240.63) and select up $1.10 ($231.08) with a movement of 72 loads (45.64 loads of choice, 12.66 loads of select, 6.14 loads of trim and 7.63 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

The corn market is only having a modest rally, seeing a 4-cent rally in the nearby contracts, but the feeder cattle contracts have waved their white flag and are tracking back down to lower prices into Tuesday afternoon. March feeders are down $1.10 at $138.22, April feeders are down $1.02 at $142.25 and May feeders are down $1.37 at $144.70. After seeing Monday's impressive CME Feeder Cattle Index (which jumped $3.01 higher) the futures market may be feeling pressured. But the demand through the countryside is roaring into the new week. As most sale barns in the Midwest and Southern Plains were closed last week, buyers are coming to market aggressively and looking to fill some orders after having a dark week.

LEAN HOGS:

The lean hog contracts ran into Tuesday, ready to take on the day. But as time has progressed, some minor resistance has crept into the complex. April lean hogs are up $0.67 at $85.80, June lean hogs are down $0.07 at $93.00 and July lean hogs are down $0.02 at $93.12. Looking at how far the market has come in the last month is nothing shy of a praiseworthy rally. But as traders look at the charts, some are beginning to wonder how much more upside does the market truly have? Once the market sees a dip in the pork cutout value, the market could grow bearish and begin to scale lower.

The projected CM Lean Hog Index for 2/22/2021 is up $0.42 at $78.16, and the actual index for 2/19/2021 is up $0.31 at $77.74. Hog prices on the National Direct Morning Hog Report are unavailable due to packer submission problems. Pork cutouts total 194.31 loads with 178.93 loads of pork cuts and 15.38 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.97, $94.08.




Tuesday Morning Livestock Market Update - Just Can't Push a Good Market Down

General Comments:

As anticipated, the Cattle on Feed report did not have much impact on the market Monday. The surprise was that greater pressure did not unfold as was expected in deferred futures contracts due to higher placements. June and August contracts were slightly lower while later contracts closed higher. Traders anticipate that strong demand will utilize higher cattle numbers that will come to the market. This could keep traders as willing buyers on price breaks. Packers will be out this week looking over showlists to get a feel whether they need to bid higher or if steady bids will get the job done. No bids or offers surfaced Monday, nor were any expected. Packers will need to purchase cattle, which could see them being more aggressive earlier in the week. The Commitment of Traders report showed funds adding another 5,478 long positions, bringing the total longs to 92,088. This makes the market somewhat top heavy and could trigger substantial selling if something turns negative. However, strong cash and increasing boxed beef prices should keep the market positive.

Hogs closed higher Monday still shrugging of the overbought status of the market. However, with continued strong packer interest pushing prices higher, there is no concern over liquidation on a "just because" basis. April, May and June futures may be carving out a sideways trading range, but later contracts continue to make new highs. There seems to be no level of price resistance. Demand remains strong, and there is room in cold storage for pork, which should keep plants busy. The January Cold Storage report will be out Tuesday afternoon showing whether there had been any growth of inventory since December. Even if there had been, it may not be enough to trigger selling. The Commitment of Traders report showed funds increasing their long positions by 11,011 contracts, pushing their net-long positions to 67,187 contracts.

BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1) Cattle futures took the information from the Cattle on Feed report in stride. Higher placements mean little if demand remains strong. 1)

Packer bought cattle last week at steady prices. That may give them the confidence to bid no higher than steady in anticipation feedlots will want to move cattle.

2) June cattle continue to hold support at the 20-day moving average. With the numbers on the report known, traders will feel more comfortable holding and possibly increasing long positions. 2) June and August futures closed below the 20-day moving average, which could increase some short-term technical selling along with pressure from a delayed reaction to the Cattle on Feed report.
3)

Hogs futures were able to garner support from higher cutouts as well as higher cash. Packers will need to keep plants running at capacity to satisfy demand.

3) Hog futures continue to remain overbought, leaving the way open for selling pressure if any bearish information surfaces.
4) The overall trend is still up keeping traders confident to hold and increase ownership of long positions. They see little long-term downside risk and only minor price corrections. 4) Packers may have purchased enough hogs for a period of time, leaving them less likely to bid higher in the near term..




Monday, February 22, 2021

Monday Closing Livestock Market Update - Lean Hogs and Feeder Cattle Grab for More

GENERAL COMMENTS:

It was a great day for both the lean hog and feeder cattle contracts, but the live cattle market has too many floating variables right now to close confidently higher. Even with corn prices scaling $0.08 to $0.09 higher, the feeder cattle contracts felt enough countryside-demand to close higher and saw significant gains on the CME Index. Hog prices closed higher on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $1.30 with a weighted average of $70.52 on 7,072 head. March corn is up 8 1/4 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is down $1.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 27.37 points and NASDAQ is down 341.41 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

The live cattle contracts closed mixed with the nearby contracts suffering from modest losses while the deferred contracts closed mildly higher. There's a lot for the live cattle market to juggle this week -- from monitoring slaughter speeds, to watching the war between feedlots and packers on cash cattle prices, to evaluating carcass weights after last week's stressful storm; getting the market back to a state of normalcy can't be achieved by a singular perspective. April live cattle closed $0.62 lower at $123.05, June live cattle closed $0.27 lower t $120.25 ad August live cattle closed $0.02 lower at $118.40. The cash cattle market didn't do much of anything through Monday's trade as bids and asking prices are still unknown. New showlists appear to be slightly higher in Texas, and lower in Kansas and Nebraska/Colorado. Monday's slaughter is estimated at 119,000 head, 40,000 head more than a week ago and 2,000 head more than a year ago.

Last week's negotiated cash cattle movement totaled 74,306 head. Of that, 50,447 head (68%) are committed for delivery in the next two weeks while the remaining 23,859 head (32%) are scheduled for delivery in the following 15 to 30 days. Last week's movement, even though it was below 100,000 head, was greater than what we assumed initially given the temporary plant shutdowns in the South.

Boxed beef prices closed higher: choice up $0.75 ($239.98) and select up $2.08 ($229.98) with a movement of 89 loads (56.76 loads of choice, 8.92 loads of select, 8.97 loads of trim and 13.87 loads of ground beef).

TUESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Higher. Packers have a lot of cattle already committed for this time frame, so their eagerness to dive into the cash market is going to be modest. With that being said, it is vital that they amp up production speeds this week to get product back into the hands of consumers which could mean that they give the market $1.00 to $2.00 more this week.

FEEDER CATTLE:

The corn market rallied only modestly Monday morning but ended up closing the day with gains of $0.08 to $0.09 higher throughout the complex. The corn market's rally didn't interfere with the feeder cattle contracts' desire to trade higher into the new week, as the contracts are far from any resistance pressure and are seeing phenomenal demand from buyers. March feeders closed $0.20 higher at $139.32, April feeders closed $0.60 higher at $143.27 and May feeders closed $0.35 higher at $146.07. If the countryside can be graced with moisture, grass cattle could be met with strong demand in the upcoming months. At Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, compared to two weeks ago, feeder steers and heifers traded steady to $2.00 higher. Demand was moderate to good on feeder cattle following last week where there were no sales due to weather inflected issues. Steers and heifer calves were only tested on light comparison but traded fully steady. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for Feb. 19: up $3.01, $141.12.

LEAN HOGS:

The lean hog contracts are having one monumental rally, and despite how high the contracts go, the industry continues to yearn for higher prices in the the futures markets and pork cutout values. April lean hogs closed $0.62 higher at $85.12, June lean hogs closed $0.77 higher at $93.10 and July lean hogs closed $0.82 higher at $93.15. While the board successfully rounded out the day with higher closes, both the cash hog market and pork cutout values complimented the market's higher climb. Tuesday afternoon the market will receive another cold storge report. January's report shared that pork cold storage supplies were the lowest they have been in the last 10 years. Pork cutouts totaled 267.63 loads with 238.21 loads of pork cuts and 29.42 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.62, $92.11. Monday's slaughter is estimated at 497,000 head, 85,000 head more than a week ago and 2,000 head more than a year ago. Saturday's hog slaughter was revised to 167,000 head which moves last week's grand total to 2,432,000 head. The CME Lean Hog Index for Feb. 18: up $0.23, $77.43.

TUESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. Packers are on the hunt for hogs as they love the market's rally and love the sheer demand that pork products are being met with. Given that hog prices jumped significantly higher last week, and that packers dove into Monday's market with such aggression, at some point in the near future the market is going to see some reluctance from packers, as they've secured enough supply.




Monday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Hogs Carry Momentum Into New Week

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Following last week's chaos from packing plants being shut down, cattle under immense stress from blizzard conditions, and Friday's surprising Cattle on Feed Report, live cattle futures are reluctant to trade higher while the lean hog and feeder cattle futures jump to the occasion. As the lean hog contracts continue to push their position higher and higher, the market needs the fundamental support of a strong cash hog movement and strong pork cutout values to continue in order for the technical aspect of the market to support these higher prices. March corn is up 4 1/2 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is down $0.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 61.48 points and NASDAQ is down 250.97 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Friday's Cattle on Feed Report could be partially to blame for Monday's doggish trade throughout the live cattle contracts. April live cattle are down $0.47 at $123.20, June live cattle are down $0.57 at $119.95 and August live cattle are down $0.35 at $118.07. Thankfully Monday's slaughter is projected to process around 115,000 head, which is far from 120,000 head but it's better than what it could have been. Seeing where the day ends up with slaughter totals will be insightful as the market desperately needs packing plants to open full bore this week to keep supplies available and to keep up with demand. Thankfully packers have every incentive they need to push vigorously in their efforts to get plants running as boxed beef prices favor their bottom lines. This week's cash cattle movement is going to be dicey. Packers have a plethora of cattle already committed for this time frame and won't be easily persuaded into paying more money as feedlots would like. Until at least the first week of April, feedlots are going to have to play strategically with their cash cattle marketing efforts to achieve higher prices. Showlists this week are somewhat higher in Texas, but lower in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.

Last week's negotiated cash cattle movement totaled 74,306 head. Of that 50,447 head (68%) are committed for delivery in the next two weeks while the remaining 23,859 head (32%) are scheduled for delivery in the following 15 to 30 days. Last week's movement, even though it was below 100,000 head, was greater than what we assumed initially given the temporary plant shutdowns in the South.

Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.15 ($239.38) and select up $0.98 ($228.88) with a movement of 55 loads (41.19 loads of choice, 4.05 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 10.16 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Feeder cattle futures cautiously tip-toed into Monday, but once the markets started actively trading the feeder contracts opted to scale higher even though the corn market is still rallying modestly. Last week's weather shut sale barns across the Midwest and Southern Plains, so this week's sales are expected to run with large receipts and producers could need to clean up their barnyards with the odds-and-ends cattle that need to go. March feeders are steady at $139.12, April feeders are up $0.32 at $143.00 and May feeders are up $0.27 at $146.00.

LEAN HOGS:

The lean hog complex is hungry for MORE! Yes, even more than what the market has already successfully accomplished. April lean hogs are up $0.35 at $84.85, June lean hogs are up $0.47 at $92.80 and July lean hogs are up $0.50 at $92.82. With futures (for the most part) continuing to trade at new contract highs, the market needs the fundamental side of the marketplace to continue to show demand in order to sustain these prices. Thankfully the market's pork cutout values continue to creep higher and show vast interest from both domestic and international buyers.

The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/19/2021 is up $0.31 at $77.74, and the actual index for 2/18/2021 is up $0.23 at $77.43. Hog prices are incomparable on the National Direct Morning Hog Report because on Friday prices were unavailable due to confidentiality. Monday morning did sell 4,983 head with a weighted average price of $69.51, ranging from $61.00 to $74.00 pushing the five-day rolling average to $68.48. Pork cutouts total 147.64 loads with 136.06 loads of pork cuts and 11.58 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.86, $93.35.




Monday Morning Livestock Market Update - Markets Vulnerable to Selling

General Comments:

Live cattle did close in positive territory Friday, but futures are still suspect, and weakness could unfold Monday. Strength might have been attributed to positioning before the Cattle on Feed report. There was some disappointment over the inability of cash to trade higher, which could pressure April futures due to the large premium it has to cash. Technically, April and later futures did hold support at the 20-day moving average Friday, triggering some buying interest. There seems to be a consensus that packers will need cattle this week in order to fill processing schedules, which may have them bid early and more aggressive, which should push cash prices higher. The Cattle on Feed report was neutral for on feed numbers as well as marketings. There is some bearish implication due to placements being 3% above a year ago. However, that should not have any impact on the market Monday or in the near term.

Hogs just could not rebound to close higher with the exception of October and later contracts. Even though futures dipped a bit last week, they are still technically overbought, but further price corrections may be put on hold due to the potential for packers to come to the market aggressively looking for hogs to maximize chain speed. Demand remains strong and there will be a surge of consumer buying in the aftermath of the sever winter storms that many had to deal with. Cash price is expected to be no worse than steady and may even be higher depending what needs to be purchased.

BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1) Cattle futures held support again Friday possibly indicating downside risk is limited, giving traders the confidence to buy into futures. 1)

The placement number on the Cattle of Feed report was bearish and could have an influence on the market even though it may not be an issue until later. It could be enough to turn the trend.

2)

The Cattle on Feed report was mostly neutral. With those numbers now known, the trade can focus on the market itself and the strong demand for beef.

2) Packers may not bid higher this week due to the ability to purchase cattle at steady prices last week. Feedlots will need to make the decision to sell or try to increase weights at high feed prices.
3)

The trend for hogs is still up due to solid support from cash and the need for packers to make up for some lost tonnage over the past week.

3) The premium in hog futures may be just too much after the meteoric rise higher. Futures remain overbought and may be ripe for a greater price correction.
4)

Demand is strong and packers need to fill that demand or lose some market share. This should support steady to higher cash.

4) Pork export sales were lower than the previous week and below the four-week average. This could be an indication of reduced international demand for the time being. Traders my turn more cautious and lighten up on long positions.



Friday, February 19, 2021

Friday Closing Livestock Market Update - Cattle Keep Support; Hogs Grow Cold

GENERAL COMMENTS:

For whatever it was and for whatever it wasn't, the week is finally over and hopefully next week the market can thrive more prosperously than this week's market did, given the severe weather. Hog prices closed lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.36 with a weighted average of $69.22 on 4,699 head. March corn is down 7 1/2 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is down $1.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.98 points and NASDAQ is up 9.10 points.

From Friday to Friday livestock futures scored the following changes: February live cattle down $1.28, April live cattle down $1.50; March feeder cattle down $1.72, April feeder cattle down $2.05; April lean hogs down $0.70, June lean hogs up $0.42.

LIVE CATTLE:

External challenges gravely affected the live cattle market this week and there being absolutely nothing anyone could have done differently to avoid it. Even though the cash cattle market didn't gain any ground this week, the market didn't lose any ground either, which is always an accomplishment. In the weeks to come, slaughter speeds are going to need to be ran at full capacity, which means that the cash cattle market stands a chance at seeing higher price levels. Next Friday, the February live cattle contract expires, which will take the highly sought-after April contract to the front and center stage. Feedlots are eager to move the market higher and can't wait to finally get through the blasted first quarter and start relishing in some of the demand that the second quarter historically yields. February live cattle closed $0.80 higher at $115.92, April live cattle closed $0.75 higher at $123.67 and June live cattle closed $0.75 higher at $120.52. There was some light cash cattle trade that developed Friday afternoon, with dressed cattle in the North selling for $180 -- fully steady with last week's weighted averages.

Unfortunately, with some ethanol plants being such down due to weather issues and the lack of natural gas supplies, there are some feedlots having to go without byproducts. This is a feedlot's true nightmare as cattle lose weight and cost of gains become even more costly than before.

Friday's slaughter is estimated at 109,000 head, 3,000 head more than a week ago and 12,000 head less than a year ago. Saturday's kill is projected to be around 63,000 head, 22,000 head more than a week ago and 32,000 head more than a year ago.

Friday's Cattle on Feed report shouldn't shake next week's market, given that there are bigger matters at hand, but it was surprising to see placements up 3% from a year ago, totaling 2.02 million head. To access the full report and to see DTN's comments, go here:

This week's boxed beef movement was considerably lighter with packing plants being temporality down, which also drove boxed beef prices higher again for the week. Throughout the week the week, choice cuts averaged $236.56, up $2.80 from last week and select cuts averaged $224.89, up $4.19 from last week. The week's total movement of cuts, grinds and trim totaled 426 loads.

Boxed beef prices closed higher: choice up $0.38 ($239.23) and select up $0.43 ($227.90) with a movement of 90 loads (52.88 loads of choice, 9.06 loads of select, 11.81 loads of trim and 15.85 loads of ground beef).

MONDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: $1.00 to $2.00 higher. Next week's cash cattle trade should see more interest than this week did. With Friday afternoon's report showing only 52,338 head sold this week, packers will need to step to the plate and buy more cattle to make up for the tonnage lost this week.

FEEDER CATTLE:

The slight break in the corn market's rally extended feeder cattle contracts the opportunity to close higher after a mostly lower trending week. March feeders closed $0.92 higher at $139.12, April feeders closed $0.92 higher at $142.67 and May feeders closed $1.10 higher at $145.72. Thankfully, as milder temperatures are on the forecast, sale barns will be able to go back to their normal schedules in most parts of the country and continue to market cattle, as producers desperately need the markets to be open. At Stockmen's Livestock Exchange in Dickinson, North Dakota, compared to two weeks ago, feeder steers weighing 650 to 700 pounds and those weighing 750 to 800 pounds sold $8.00 higher, and steers weighing 700 to 750 pounds and 650 to 900 pounds sold on average $4.00 higher. Feeder heifers weighing 550 to 650 pounds sold $1.00 higher and heifers weighing 650 to 700 pounds and 750 to 800 pounds sold $5.00 higher. Demand was seen throughout the sale and feeders were in light to moderate flesh, which buyers greatly appreciated. Some groups of heifers attracted special interest as they were high enough quality to make replacement females. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for Feb. 18: up $1.82, $138.11.

LEAN HOGS:

Traders grew leery of the nearby hog contracts as the day rounded out, but even with Friday's lower close, it was an exceptional week for the lean hog market. Looking at the lean hog charts, one can't help but be blown away by the exceptional rally the markets have had, but it's also the reason why traders are growing skeptical of pushing the complex much higher. Traders look at the levels that the market is trading at and wonder how much more upside the market truly has. The one (and maybe the only) good thing about COVID-19 is that it has encouraged more domestic meat demand and the pork industry is being fueled by that. The lean hog charts may by getting too high for some, but the market's demand isn't weakening. April lean hogs closed $0.42 lower at $84.50, June lean hogs closed $0.32 lower at $92.32 and July lean hogs closed $0.25 lower at $92.32. Pork cutouts total 247.17 loads with 221.55 loads of pork cuts and 25.62 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.68, $91.49. Friday's slaughter is estimated at 488,000 head, 5,000 head more than a week ago and 21,000 head more than a year ago. Saturday's kill is projected to be around 173,000 head, 28,000 head less than a week ago and 19,000 head less than a year ago. The CME Lean Hog Index for Feb. 17: up $0.67, $77.20.

MONDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. Packers were extremely aggressive in this week's cash hog market. Next week, pushing slaughter to maximum capacity will be the first matter of business and depending on the plant, some packers may have to step up and secure more supplies via the cash market again.




Friday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Packers Hope to Pay Steady Money While Board Trades Higher

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Right from the day's start the livestock contracts jumped into Friday ambitious and ready to round out the week's trade on a strong note. The warmer weather has helped change the attitude surrounding the marketplace from its distressed state earlier this week to a reassured state. Look to this afternoon, the big matters of business that need tended to before the day's end are Friday afternoon's Cattle on Feed Report and the market still needs to see more cash cattle trade. March corn is down 8 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is down $1.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 108.47 points and NASDAQ is up 72.58 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Packers are getting more aggressive as the day plays on and have thus far offered steady bids with last week's trade in the North and South. Light trade developed Thursday afternoon in the Southern Plains live for $114 (steady with last week) and in the Northern Plains for $113 to $114, which was steady as well. Now that packers know they can get cattle bought at steady prices, their willingness to offer up more money is going to be less. Only a light movement of cattle this past week still leaves the market an opportunity to see higher prices as next week's slaughter should be notably more aggressive as packers need to try to make up for the lost tonnage this week. Feedlot aspirations of higher prices are favored by futures positive trade. With a commendable export report and lower corn prices, the contracts trade fully higher all throughout the sector. February live cattle are up $1.02 at $116.15, April live cattle are up $0.65 at $123.57 and June live cattle are up $0.70 at $120.50. Later Friday afternoon the industry will see another Cattle on Feed Report unveiled, with all eyes closely watching the placement and marketing figures; both are expected to be lighter than a year ago.

Beef net sales of 22,900 metric tons (mt) were reported for 2021, primarily for South Korea (9,600 mt, including decreases of 600 mt), Japan (3,500 mt, including decreases of 600 mt) and Canada (3,100 mt, including decreases of 100 mt).

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $0.36 ($239.21) and select down $0.02 ($227.45) with a movement of 61 loads (39.26 loads of choice, 5.83 loads of select, 6.45 loads of trim and 9.70 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

As the corn market continues to tilt lower, feeder cattle contracts are soaking up every ounce of opportunity to trade higher and aren't thinking twice about doing so. March feeders are up $1.25 at $139.45, April feeders are up $1.10 at $142.85 and May feeders are up $1.10 at $145.72. Even though challenges still persist throughout the countryside, we are thankfully getting to the point in the weather forecast where warmer days are in the near future. The sale barns that have been able to host sales this past week have been met with moderate to considerable demand. As Thursday afternoon's CME Feeder Cattle Index showed a higher close, and as the futures market scaled upward of $1.00 stronger in the nearby contracts, there's moderate support encouraging the market to keep with its strong trade.

LEAN HOGS:

Mostly higher, other than the June contract, lean hog futures aim to roll into Friday afternoon with enough gusto to close the week fully higher. April lean hogs are up $0.07 at $85.00, June lean hogs are down $0.20 at $92.45 and July lean hogs are steady at $92.57. Friday morning's export report was slightly lower than the weeks past and it was interesting to see that China wasn't one of the most aggressive buyers this past week as they came in fourth in line, buying 2,500 mt with decreases of 1,300 mt.

The projected lean hog index for 2/18/2021 is up $0.23 at $77.43 and the actual index for 2/17/2021 is up $0.67 at $77.20. Hog prices are unavailable due to confidentiality on the National Direct Morning Hog Report. Pork cutouts total 150.24 loads with 131.71 loads of pork cuts and 18.52 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $2.95, $93.76.

Pork net sales of 33,300 mt reported for 2021 were down 10% from the previous week and 27% from the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for Japan (9,500 mt, including decreases of 100 mt), Mexico (8,400 mt, including decreases of 600 mt), South Korea (3,000 mt, including decreases of 200 mt) and China (2,500 mt, including decreases of 1,300 mt).