Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Dec 20, 2013

*** This is the final newsletter of 2013. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Best, John Michael ***

Cash Cattle:

Cash fed cattle were mostly steady in this week’s trade. The five-area live steer price finished the week at $130.03, down 13 cents per hundredweight, dressed steers were at $207.43. Live cattle sales in the Texas Panhandle and Southwest Kansas were called at $130. In Nebraska cattle transactions were, respectively, at $129-$130 and $207-$208. In the Western Cornbelt live and dresses cattle trade was a bit lower at $130 and $206, respectively.Oklahoma City feeder steers and heifers were steady compared to two weeks ago since the last week’s sale was canceled. Steer calves were $3 lower to $6 higher depending on the type and background while heifers were steady to $3 higher. In Mississippi auction markets this week feeder steers were steady to $1 lower and calves were mixed. Feeder heifers were steady to lower and heifer calves were steady to $1 higher. Cull cows and bulls were much stronger this week, up $3-$6.


Live cattle futures slid a bit early in the week before rallying late. Lackluster cash beef and cattle markets provided the bulk of the pressure but outside markets were in the mix as well. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced they would slowly, ever so slowly, start pulling back on their quantitative easing program. While the news in and of itself should be perceived as bearish, equity markets rallied hard – reaching new highs for both the S&P and Dow Jones indices – giving weight to knowing what to expect as opposed to making guesses (knowledge is power, right!). The news came out after futures markets had closed so they joined the party on Thursday. On Friday, U.S. third quarter GDP received another revision and is currently estimated at a 4.1% growth, better than expected. This helped keep spirits bright. Finally, USDA released their monthly Cattle on Feed report late Friday afternoon and it showed fewer cattle in feedlots than expected. This should keep the cattle market in a jolly mood to start next week’s Christmas holiday shortened session.

Corn futures rebounded a bit this week. Hot temps for South America’s crop is creating some concerns but the bulk of the gains came on Thursday when USDA reported strong export numbers for U.S. corn. Informa Economics (an ag consultancy firm) released their expectations for the 2014 crop acres and they expect corn to garner 91.8 million.


Wholesale beef prices ended the week mixed with Choice falling and Select rising. Choice beef averaged $198.22 for the week, down $3.10. Select averaged $188.56, up $1.19.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel.


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