Thomas Elwood: Early livestock comments
Asking prices in both Kansas and Texas are maintained at $109.00 this morning. Nebraska lots have cattle priced par with the futures. We still find bids no better than $104.00 in the south, and not every feedlots is seeing the bids. The north is quiet and it could be late today or even Friday before trade takes place in Eastern Nebraska due to weather.
The choice cutout was down $0.20 at $172.73 last night, with the select up $0.47 at $171.68. Spot trade was limited, especially for a Wednesday, but that was not a surprise given that many could not make it to work. Slaughter was just 117,000 head on Wednesday due to problems moving cattle around. There are some ideas that the limited production schedules could support prices, but that does not seem to be happening yet.
Hog calls are mixed this morning. In the West, where things are not so bad other than cold, bids are expected to be steady to $0.50 lower. In the East, however, bids are expected to be steady to $0.50 higher, with the strongest bids in Illinois. Roads remain a mess in the East, hindering hog movement. Not all the missed slaughter will be made up on Saturday, and the industry will carry hogs over into next week. This, ultimately, will be negative for prices.
The pork cutout lost $0.39 last night. Bone-in loins were steady/weak again. Butts were steady/firm. Hams were called unevenly steady, but the heavy weight hams lost 2 cents on the weighted average. Bellies were once again unquoted. We understand S. Korea has added bellies to the items subject to reduced tariffs, which could provide some additional price support going forward.
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TJE Cash trade information provided by Robin Fuller