The board came into the week strong, but interest dwindled and all three livestock contracts closed the week fully lower.
The market’s swings throughout the whirlwind of the coronavirus have been baffling. Last week boxed beef prices and cash prices couldn’t have been anymore of polar opposites as boxed beef prices made historical leaps and the live cattle market closed limit lower multiple times throughout the week. Fast forward to this last week, the board charged into Monday with ambition and a desire to regain lost ground, cash cattle prices jumped $10.00 but then board gave way towards the later part of the week and ultimately fell back below Monday’s open. These types of market swings are a cattleman’s worse nightmare as they undermine how the market was intended to work.
Live cattle contracts closed the week on a disappointing note as the market fell to prices lower than Monday’s initial open. April live cattle closed $4.50 lower at $100.95, June live cattle closed $4.12 lower at $89.42 and August live cattle closed $4.02 at $90.45. Driving support and interest seems to be half of the market’s struggles as open interest continues to dwindle and prices follow the vicious, volatile highs and lows.
Friday’s cash cattle trade didn’t amount to much as most of the week’s business was already taken care of. Sales this week in the South traded $116 to $122, $9.00 to $10.00 higher than the previous week. And cattle in the North traded from $180 to $191, roughly $17 higher than last week’s weighted average. Friday’s slaughter is estimated at 117,000 head, 8,000 head more than a week ago and 10,000 head more than year ago. Saturday’s kill is projected to be around 75,000 head.
Boxed beef prices closed mixed: choice down $0.73 ($252.84) and select up $0.21 ($242.38) with a movement of 124 loads (72.72 loads of choice, 10.68 loads of select, 19.30 loads of trim and 21.38 loads of ground beef).
MONDAY’S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Good guess. Next week is going to be a tough one. Cash cattle prices were higher this week, but if the board continues to trade lower, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this week’s advancements lost.
Feeder cattle contracts closed the week limit lower throughout the entire complex. April feeders closed $4.50 lower at $120.60, May feeders closed $4.50 lower at $120.92 and August feeders closed $4.50 lower at $127.10. At Blue Grass Stockyards in Stanford, Kentucky, compared to last week, feeder steers sold $10.00 to $15.00 higher with some instances of $20.00 higher. Feeder heifers sold $7.00 to $10.00 higher with some instances of $15.00 higher. Slaughter cattle continue to sell with extremely high demand as slaughter cows sold $3.00 to $5.00 higher and slaughter bulls sold $2.00 to $4.00 higher. The CME feeder cattle index 3/26/2020: up $1.94, $130.44.