Thomas Elwood: Early livestock comments
Showlists are mixed this week but smaller overall. Asking prices start the week at $101.00 to $102 live and $160 dressed. The highest asking prices are in Texas where feedlot attitudes are very bullish. If futures remain firm, it will take at least $100.00 live to move cattle in Texas this week. If feedlots try to hold for more than that, it could be Friday before we see trade. Note last week's slaughter was revised upward to 681,000 head, the largest weekly total since late August.
The choice cutout was up $1.82 at $160.96 last night, with the select down $0.79 at $149.16. Volume was light. Choice ribs blasted higher on the quotes last night as they make their last seasonal run into the holidays. In fact, most choice primals were firm, and we hear of renewed interest in some parts of the round for features as the weather turns to winter.
Cash hog calls are mostly steady with the potential for some firmness. Packers are basically done for the week, but the few buyers that are bidding are trying to entice producers break from family gatherings to move hogs on Friday and Saturday.
The pork cutout was unchanged last night. Pork butts rebounded a bit on the short production for this week and were quoted steady to 2 cents higher. We continue to hear of good export interest. Loins were 1-4 cents higher. Hams were fully steady. Bellies were unquoted but said to be about steady.
Friday's Cold Storage Report showed larger pork stocks than traders expected. End of October pork stocks totaled 478.2 mill lbs, above the highest pre-report estimate of 475 mill lbs; the average estimate was about 450 mill lbs. Stocks remain well below last year's 516.3 mill lbs, with most of the short fall still coming in fresh cuts and bellies. Belly stocks were 23.2 mill lbs at the end of September compared to 37.1 mill lbs last year. One of the exceptions to smaller stocks of pork was ham. Total ham stocks came to 150.6.0 mill lbs at the end of September compared to 129.5 mill lbs last year.