It was a strong technical day for the livestock contracts as all three of the markets closed higher despite there being concerns still about a government shutdown.
Even though a government shutdown looms overhead of the cattle complex, traders elected to advance the live cattle contracts through Thursday’s end as they seemed to value the market’s strong fundamental position more so than they had earlier in the week. October live cattle closed $1.60 higher at $186.50, December live cattle closed $2.25 higher at $190.42 and February live cattle closed $2.22 higher at $194.62. Packers didn’t give the cash cattle market much interest through Thursday’s trade as a few bids were offered in Nebraska, but feedlots elected to let them sit on the table unless packers were going to up the ante. Thus far this week Southern live cattle have traded for $183 which is steady with last week’s weighted average, and Northern dressed cattle have traded for mostly $290 to $292 which is $1.00 to $2.00 lower than last week’s weighted average. Asking prices for cattle left on showlists remain at $183 plus in the South and $292 plus in the North. More trade will likely develop ahead of the week’s end, but it could just be clean up in its nature. Thursday’s slaughter is estimated at 124,000 head — steady with last week but 3,000 head less than a year ago.
Beef net sales of 17,700 mt for 2023 were up 29% from the previous week and 42% from the prior 4-week average. The three primary buyers were Japan (3,900 mt), South Korea (3,500 mt) and China (3,200 mt).
Thursday’s actual slaughter data shared that for the week ending 9/16/2023 steers averaged 919 pounds, which is two pounds heavier than a week ago and one pound more than a year ago. During the same week, heifers averaged 821 pounds which is four pounds lighter than a week ago and 11 pounds lighter than a year ago.
Boxed beef prices closed mixed: choice up $0.56 ($301.51) and select down $1.07 ($277.44) with a movement of 149 loads (77.48 loads of choice, 51.02 loads of select, 4.04 loads of trim and 16.15 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY’S CATTLE CALL:
Steady. Given that packers were able to buy a sizeable volume of cattle last week likely means that they’ll only pay modest interest to the market this week and try to keep prices no better than steady.
The feeder cattle complex kept with its rallying nature well through Thursday’s end as the market saw consistent $2.00 gains across its contracts. Demand continues to remain strong in the countryside although many sales are noting that farmers are still out in the field and that interest should improve once they’re done harvesting. October feeders closed $2.47 higher at $254.72, November feeders closed $2.87 higher at $257.67 and January feeders closed $2.65 higher at $260.05. At Winter Livestock Auction in Pratt, Kansas compared to last week and at their midsession point, feeder steers weighing 850 to 950 pounds were selling steady to $3.00 lower, but steers weighing 700 to 850 pounds were selling $1.00 to $4.00 higher. There weren’t enough heifers at the sale to generate and accurate market trend, although lower tones were noted. Feeder cattle supply over 600 pounds was 95%. The CME feeder cattle index 9/27/2023: down $1.07, $252.20.