Cattle, hog futures tumble on demand worries
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day lower on another round of follow-through selling and broader market pressure. Feeder cattle closed sharply lower on profit-taking and weakening broader markets as concerns about the coronavirus continues to add volatility to prices. February live cattle closed $1.45 lower at $112.62 and April live cattle closed $1.87 lower at $110.47. March feeder cattle closed $1.50 lower at $132.57 and April feeder cattle closed $1.90 lower at $134.07.
Cattle country is quiet as it looks like the bulk of this week’s direct cash cattle business has been completed. There was a light to moderate trade that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday at mostly $115 live and $187 dressed. But prices took a hit and were $3 to $5 lower than the previous week’s weighted average basis.
At the Huss Livestock Market, compared to last week steers over 600 pounds were $5 to $8 lower. Most weights of heifers sold $2 to $4 lower with flat 800 weights trading steady. The USDA says demand was moderate from the regular crowd of order and farmer/feeder buyers. Receipts are down slightly on the week and the year. Feeder supply was 55 percent steers and 78 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 651 to 698 pounds brought $151.25 to $156 and feeder steers 711 to 747 brought $145 to $150.35. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 650 to 680 pounds brought $130 to $139 and feeder heifers 700 to 735 pounds brought $128.50 to $134.50.
Boxed beef closed mixed – lower on Choice and higher on Select on light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings. Choice is $.80 lower at $205.54 and Select closed $1.09 higher at $199.69. Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – even on the week and up 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed sharply lower on profit-taking, outside market pressure, and demand uncertainties as the impact the coronavirus has had on demand remain unknown. April lean hogs closed $2.60 lower at $62.55 and May lean hogs closed $2.42 lower at $69.75.
Cash hogs closed steady to firm with solid negotiated numbers. Packers have been working hard to move their desired numbers. Optimism that demand for US pork will continue to significantly improve remain and that, combined with solid domestic demand to start the year are helping to keep prices supported. However, the market has to remain cautiously optimistic as supplies of ready hogs are more than ample and there are growing concerns about the overall impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on demand. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.20 higher with a base range of $45 to $52.25 for a weighted average of $50.22; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.21 higher for a weighted average of $49.95; the Western Corn Belt closed $.26 higher for a weighted average of $49.95. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $31. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $17 to $26. Receipts are down on the week and up on the year. Barrow and gilt prices were firm with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $27 to $35. Boars range from $5 to $18.
Pork values closed weak – down $.20 at $64.29. Bellies and hams were sharply lower. Picnics closed lower. Loins, butts, and ribs were all higher to sharply higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 494,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and 19,000 on the year.