According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average for both regular gas and on-highway diesel are down from week-to-week and year-to-year levels. This downtrend could be a litmus test for slowing domestic and global economic growth and reduced consumer confidence.
Cash fed cattle buyers were slow to action last week, with no bids offered until late Tuesday. Even then, they were sporadic and poorly defined. By Wednesday, bids and asking prices were again separated by $5-7 dollars with bids of $118 live in the Southern Plains in the face of $123 offers.
USDA released its midyear Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report at the end of May. The report upped export expectations for the 2012 fiscal year (FY12) by $3.5 billion relative to the earlier February forecast. Even at $134.5 billion, this year’s projected exports are $2.
Light and sporadic trading occurred in the cash fed cattle markets by midday Thursday, none of it sufficient to establish a trend. Asking prices of $122-123 live and $195-196 dressed were unmet by bids at the beginning of the short week. When bids did develop, they trailed asking prices by roughly $5 in both areas.
The cash cattle trade developed with moderate activity in the south Plains on Wednesday. Texas and Kansas saw roughly 30,000 head sell at $121 live. Analysts anticipate Wednesday saw most of the southern trade, though low volume suggested possible clean-up sales throughout the rest of the week.
Again, the cash fed cattle markets remained immobile until Friday. Bids trailed asking prices by $3-$5 in most cases and up to $9 in more extreme cases. Asking prices stayed steady for live cattle at $122-123 in the south Plains and ranged from $194-197 dressed in the north.
is available for export. U.S. beef production is expected to be 5 and 8 percent lower in the third and fourth quarters of 2012, and exports are expected to be 9 percent and 6 percent lower in those quarters. Beef export levels in 2013 are expected to be only slightly (1 percent) below forecast 2012 levels, at 2.
By midday Thursday, only sporadic trading had taken place. A handful of dressed sales occurred Monday at $193-194 in Iowa, and light trade developed in the north at $120 live and $188-191 dressed later in the week. Kansas and Nebraska saw token buys at $117 live and $188 dressed.
California, Nebraska and Washington saw the largest year-to-year increases in the cattle on feed population. Compared with April 1, 2011, California was up 9 percent, with 490,000 cattle on feed. Nebraska saw a 6 percent increase from last year’s numbers with 2.
Futures rallied slightly in the wake of a less sensationalized media presentation of the BSE story, a welcomed change from the reception of lean finely textured beef (LFTB). Word that the case was atypical tempered the reaction of importers of U.S. beef to minimal at best.