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Early livestock comments
Packer inquiry is expected to improve today, though trade is not expected until Friday in many, if not most, areas. Feedlots are holding firm to asking prices of $92.00-$93.00 live and $150 dressed after a sharp rally in beef values this week. They will have to be patient to thwart packers, who want to pay no more than steady and keep their positive margins going. Bids were still limited to a few at $88.00 live in the south.
The choice cutout was up $1.98 at $149.43, with the select up $1.16 at $142.98. Volume remains on the light side as buyers resist the higher asking prices. Pipelines are relatively empty and some buyers have no other choice. We have heard of some forward negotiations taking place, but at lower prices from the current spot market.
Base hog bids are called mostly steady this morning. The west could show a little firmness, but it may be more from the usual Thursday quote fiddling than any real strength. Slaughter was reduced yesterday due to wintry weather but those hogs will have to get slaughtered at some point. As we mentioned yesterday, there is beginning to be talk of a backlog developing with the constant weather disruptions.
Hams continue to blast higher on a combination of seasonally strong processing demand and new export business. From an historical standpoint, this week or next week should be the pre-Easter peak in prices for hams. Fresh pork was mixed in a light trade though the lighter kills are generally supporting prices. Bellies were unquoted.
Tuesday night's weekly CME out of town report s howed an in-movement of 2.443 mill lbs compared to a net out last year of 0.403 mill lbs. Stocks now total 49.046 mill lbs compared to 31.911 mill lbs last year.
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