Thomas Elwood: Livestock market comments
Nebraska traded lightly on Thursday at $124.00 live and $196-$197 dressed before packers pulled bids in the wake of the big Japan earthquake aftershock. There was some trade at $123.00 live and $194- $195 dressed, but more cattle will trade today since reported volume was less than 18,000 in last night's report. The direction of futures today will be a big influence on cash prices. Bids stand at $122.00 live, but the industry could see more $123.00 trade if the futures bounce.
The choice cutout was down $0.70 at $190.93 last night, with the select down $0.08 at $187.01. Volume was extremely light again and the weekly volume will be less than 700 loads of cuts. Choice middles edged a little higher, but ends declined in value. The select cuts were a mixed bag. Buyers are resisting any attempts to raise prices above current levels. - The USDA has deemed meat inspectors as "essential" and they will continue to work even if the government shuts down tonight. Note there will not be any data reporting, however, so if the shutdown lasts into next week, Market News and NASS will close. That means no price reporting or slaughter data.
Cash hog calls are mostly steady this morning. Packer margins are in the red, and they are cutting slaughter rates in an effort to bring them in line with available numbers.
The pork cutout lost $0.31 last night. Loins were mostly steady, with butts 2-3 cents higher. Price resistance to butt prices is building and a downward correction could come next week. Middle weight hams were quoted 1-2 cents lower, while heavy hams held steady. Bellies were once again unquoted.
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TJE Cash trade information provided by Robin Fuller