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Weekly US Cattle Outlook: Beef and Veal Exports Up

23 March 2009
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

US - Weekly Cattle Outlook, 20th March 2009 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.

Beef and veal exports for January 2009 were up 8.2 per cent from a year earlier. However, beef and veal imports grew more than exports. Therefore, net beef imports as a per cent of production grew from 4.3 per cent in January 2008 to 6.1 per cent in January 2009.

Our exports of beef to Mexico in January 2009 were down 9.9 per cent, to Canada down 29.9 per cent, to Japan up 20.3 per cent, to Taiwan down 37.6 per cent, to South Korea up 3,297.2 per cent, to Vietnam up 84.1 per cent, to Hong Kong down 49.7 per cent, to the Bahamas up 24.6 per cent and to other countries up 9.7 per cent from a year earlier.

Nearly 95 per cent of the increase in beef imports in January 2009 from a year earlier came from Canada, Australia and New Zealand with nearly 55 per cent of the increase from Australia.

Live cattle imports in January were down 17.1 per cent with Mexican feeder cattle imports up 67.3 per cent, but live cattle imports from Canada were down 33 per cent from 12 months earlier.

Feeder steers and heifers at Oklahoma City this week were $1-3 per cwt higher and stockers and calves were $2-4 per cwt higher this last week.

The prices by weight group of medium- and large-frame Number One steers were: 400-500 pounds $113-117 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $104-115.50 per cwt, 600-700 pounds $95-109.25 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $89-99 per cwt and 800-1,000 pounds $79.50-90.50 per cwt.

The number of cattle on feed March 1 was down 4.7 per cent based on trade estimates. Placements on feed during February were estimated to be 1.3 per cent larger than in February 2008. Marketings of fed cattle during February are estimated to be down 5.3 per cent from a year earlier. Because of leap year, February of 2008 had one more week day than February this year. Therefore, marketings per day are estimated to be near a year earlier and placements per day are larger than last year on a daily basis.

Wholesale beef prices this Friday morning showed Choice beef at $132.93 per cwt, down $3.67 per cwt from seven days earlier. Select beef at $132.75 per cwt was down $2.70 per cwt from a week earlier on Friday morning.

The weighted average live fed cattle price for the five-market area through Thursday at $81.91 per cwt was up $1.22 per cwt from a week earlier. The weighted average negotiated carcass price for the five-market area was $132.45 per cwt, up $2.92 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 615 thousand head, down 4.5 per cent from a year earlier.

Choice retail beef prices in February were up 19 per cent from January and up 4.3 per cent from February 2008. Retail beef prices for January and February were 4.9 per cent above 12 months earlier. All the increase in beef price, plus some, was captured by marketers with the margin for January and February up about 15 per cent. Fed cattle prices were 10.2 per cent below a year earlier in January and February.

The March 1 Cattle on Feed report came in close to trade expectations. The number on feed was down 5.3 per cent the trade was expecting a 4.7 per cent decline. The placements on feed during February trade estimate was for an increase of 1.3 per cent, the USDA estimate showed placements down 2.6 per cent and marketings during February down 5.3 per cent, the same as the trade estimate. If the trade was using the trade estimates, the report will likely be a little friendly with some increases in futures price on Monday for the live cattle contracts.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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