Livestock Market Commentary: Oliver Sloup, 3/24/23

Posted: March 24, 2023, 4:28 p.m.

April live cattle futures close 67 cents higher on the week. Oliver Sloup discusses.


Live cattle futures were able to rally today putting them in positive territory for the week.  For the week, April live cattle was up 67 cents, the June contract tacked on 20 cents for the week.  That strength wasn’t able to spill into the feeder cattle market.  For the week, May feeder cattle finished the week 2.40 lower.   For the week, April hogs were 2.70 lower and June was down 1.90.

The relatively small change in live cattle prices may be in part due to a relatively quiet cash cattle market.  Yesterday afternoon the USDA reported the 5 area average price of live cattle near 164, this is steady to a slightly weakier than what we’ve seen in recent reports.  The recent concern over a banking crisis has some analysts concerned that the rapid rise in rate hikes may be leading to a bigger slowdown in economic growth, which could make consumers more hesitant to buy a higher priced protein such as beef.

With that said, yesterday’s weekly export sales report was strong, or at least stronger than what we’ve seen in the last month.  That report showed net sales of beef at 18,600 metric tons, that was up 5% from the previous week and a whopping 59% higher than the 4-week average.  South Korea was the primary buyer, accounting for roughly 60% of the total.  Japan and China were the next largest buyers.  

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