Given that boxed beef prices and cash cattle prices both traded lower by Wednesday’s end, it could be a tough Thursday for the cattle market.
A swing and a miss comes with Wednesday’s close as the live cattle contracts closed mostly lower, boxed beef prices closed lower and cash cattle traded lower too. June live cattle closed $0.42 lower at $132.30, August live cattle closed $0.22 lower at $132.52 and October live cattle closed $0.42 lower at $138.20. After Monday’s impressive move, the market has stalled out technically and hasn’t gotten the fundamental support it’s needed in order to charge forward. There was a light trade reported in the North where dressed cattle sold for $223 to $225, mostly at $223, which is $3.00 lower. There were a few more deals reported in the South at $137, which is steady with Tuesday’s business but $1.00 lower than last week. Wednesday’s slaughter is estimated at 125,000 head, steady with a week ago and 4,000 head more than a year ago.
Boxed beef prices closed lower: choice down $0.72 ($262.93) and select down $1.29 ($244.06) with a movement of 102 loads (64.30 loads of choice, 19.63 loads of select, 6.60 loads of trim and 11.24 loads of ground beef).
THURSDAY’S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady with the week’s trend. Tuesday established prices in the South, and Wednesday established the week’s prices in the North. Given that both regions have had cattle trade it’s likely that any more cattle that trade trend steady with the week’s tone.
The feeder cattle contracts closed mostly higher, although the August and September contracts both rounded out the day lower slightly lower. Feeders were able to keep their momentum through closing, as the corn market posed no real threat throughout Wednesday’s market. The live cattle market was interesting to watch from a feeder perspective as the cash cattle market has yet to really trade a substantial volume of cattle, especially in the North. Given how complex the market’s environment is (war in Ukraine, crop progress, inflation, questionable boxed beef demand), no one is falling asleep behind the wheel as the market is seeming to tread water until a clear trajectory is established. August feeders closed $0.20 lower at $167.95, September feeders closed $0.02 lower at $171.05 and October feeders closed $0.17 higher at $173.65. At Winter Livestock Auction in Dodge City, Kansas compared to a week ago feeder steers weighing 550 to 975 pounds traded $4.00 to $8.00 higher. There weren’t enough steer calves to accurately test the market but of those weighing 400 to 550 pounds, a lower trend was obvious. Feeder heifers weighing 750 to 900 pounds sold steady to $2.00 higher. Heifers weighing 400 to 750 pounds traded unevenly steady. Demand was noted as good for cattle weighing more than 700 pounds, but moderate for those weighing under 700 pounds. Slaughter cows traded $1.00 to $2.00 lower and slaughter bulls sold $5.00 lower. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for May 24: up $0.18, $153.35.