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CME Cattle Futures Prices In Record Price Territory.


Closing Grain and Livestock Futures
Mar. corn closed at $4.28, up 2 and 1/4 cents
Mar. soybeans closed at $13.15, down 3 cents
Mar. soybean meal closed at $432.00, down $2.50
Mar. soybean oil closed at 38.05, up 6 points
Mar. wheat closed at $5.72 and 3/4, up 5 cents
Feb. live cattle closed at $140.15, up 72 cents
Feb. lean hogs closed at $86.87, up 27 cents
Feb. crude oil closed at $93.96, down 21 cents
Mar. cotton closed at 86.19, up 140 points
Feb. Class III milk closed at $21.79, up 75 cents
Mar. gold closed at $1,240.40, up $1.80
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,417.01, down 64.93 points

Soybeans were mixed, adjusting old crop/new crop spreads from earlier in the week. China bought a total of 465,500 tons of U.S. beans, 405,500 of that new crop, and the weekly numbers were bullish with sales over 1.2 million tons. Past that – conditions for most of Brazil look good, but the southern tip of Brazil and all of Argentina need rain sometime soon. Soybean meal was mixed, following the lead of beans, and bean oil was up modestly, closing around session highs.

Corn was higher on short covering, technical buying, and spillover from wheat. Weekly export sales were more than what’s needed to meet USDA projections for the marketing year, but it was another slow week for shipments. Unknown canceled on 126,000 tons of old crop U.S. corn, potentially, that’s China and related to GMO issues, and there’s just a lot of corn available at this time. Ethanol futures were higher.

The wheat complex was higher on short covering and technical buying. Weekly export sales were above what’s needed to meet USDA’s estimate, with a solid week for shipments. Egypt bought 60,000 tons of U.S. soft red winter out of a total of nearly 300,000 tons. Japan picked up 29,000 tons of U.S. dark northern spring and 20,800 tons of U.S. hard red winter, South Korea’s Nonghyup Feed Inc. bought 65,000 ton of optional origin feed wheat, and Jordan purchased 50,000 tons of optional origin wheat. According to Reuters, Strategie Grains has lowered its 2014 European Union soft wheat production estimate to 137.7 million tons. That’s up 2% from 2013, but down from the 138 million tons projected in December due to concerns about crops in Britain and Bulgaria.



Another round of light to moderate cattle trading was evident on Thursday with prices steady to firm with Wednesday’s advance. Kansas traded a few head at 142.50, in Nebraska there were live sales from 143.00 to 144.50 and dressed deals ranged from 228.00 to 229.00. On the other hand the South was relatively quiet and business there may be completed for the week. Asking prices for cattle remaining on the showlists are around 144.00 to 145.00 in the South and 230.00 plus in the North. The cattle slaughter totaled 119,000 head, 2,000 more than last week, but 3,000 below last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were sharply higher on moderate to fairly good demand and light offerings. Choice boxed beef was 4.17 higher at 228.79, and select was up 3.60 at 225.51.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled unchanged to 72 points higher. The front month futures held fairly strong gains but off session highs triple digit gains. There was a combination of market squaring mixed with follow through buying. February settled .72 higher at 140.15 and April was up .27 at 139.22.

Feeder cattle ende4d the session unchanged to 40 points higher. Futures closed off the day’s highs as corn futures displayed modest gains. Traders focused on additional market support, which was evident in the nearby live cattle contracts late in the week. January settled .40 higher at 169.80, March was up .22 at 168.25.

Feeder cattle receipts at the St. Joseph, Missouri Stockyards on Wednesday totaled 4001 head. Compared to last week, lightweight steer calves weighing less than 700 pounds sold 5.00 to 15.00 higher. Heavier steers calves were five higher, and yearling steers over 700 pounds were steady. Heifer calves were mostly 4.00 to 6.00 higher while all other weights of heifers were steady. Trading was active with the best demand for stocker steers with prices reaching never before seen levels locally. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 600 to 650 pounds ranged from 182.50 to 199.75. 6 to 7 weight heifers traded from 161.00 to 178.75, with a lot of replacements averaging 620 pounds at 176.00.

Lean hogs settled 7 to 70 points higher. Despite a lack of support early in the session, lean hogs showed the most consistent market support through the entire complex of livestock markets. The April contract led the move higher. Trader’s attention remained on the potential to stabilize cash markets while pork values suggest the ability to make moderate to strong gains through the near future. February settled .27 higher at 86.87 and April was up .70 at 92.25.

There was moderate to active hog market activity and good demand on Thursday afternoon. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .06 higher at 78.61 on a carcass basis, the West was up .02 at 78.42, and the East was .56 higher at 77.18. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady from 71.00 to 73.00. Terminal hogs closed steady to an instance of 1.00 lower from 51.00 to 58.00 live.

The pork value was up 1.05 at 86.01 FOB plant on a negotiated basis. All primals were higher with the exception of the bellies.

For the week ending January 11, Iowa barrows and gilts averaged 282.6 pounds, 0.3 pounds lighter than the prior week, but still 6.1 pounds heavier than 2013. 

Though value-minded meat buyers have been slow on the uptake, many will sooner or later decide to shift to relatively less expensive pork for their winter and spring promotions.

Thursday’s hog kill was estimated at 428,000 head, 1,000 less than last week, but 1,000 more than last year.

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