Cattle Outlook: Prices Rise on Low Volume, US Unemployment Falls

US - The five-area average price was up $1.38 last week as the government added 223,000 jobs, write Professors Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri.
calendar icon 7 July 2015
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

The number of people in the labour force declined by 432,000, writes Professor Plain.

This combination pulled the unemployment rate down to 5.3 per cent. Overall the numbers indicate continuing slow growth.

USDA's weekly Crop Progress report says 9 per cent of U.S. pastures were in poor or very poor condition on June 28. That is the same as the week before and 6 points lower than a year ago.

Fed cattle prices this week were higher on light volume. Through Wednesday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $151.28/cwt, up $1.38 from the first three days last week, but down $6.12 from the same days last year. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $239.45/cwt, up 2 cents compare to last week, but down $10.00 compared to the same week last year.

This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $250.27/cwt, down $4.26 from the previous Friday. The select carcass cutout was $248.42/cwt this morning down $1.26 from last week.

Through Thursday, cattle slaughter totaled 451,000 head, up 3.2 per cent from the week before, but down 3.6 per cent from the same week last year.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on June 20 was 872 pounds, up 3 pounds from the week before, up 16 pounds compared to the same week last year and above the year-ago level for the 53rd consecutive week.

Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were steady to $2 higher this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $298-$300, 450-500# $299-$304, 500-550# $275-$288, 550-600# $236-$271, 600-650# $235-$257, 650-700# $230-$247, 700-750# $223-$246, 750-800# $217.50-$229.50, 800-900# $208-$222.50 and 900-1000#, $199-$207/cwt.

Fed cattle futures were higher this week. The August live cattle futures contract settled at $151.22/cwt today, up $2.70 for the week. October fed cattle settled at $154.12/cwt, up $3.12 from the previous week. December fed cattle gained $2.50 this week to settle at $154.72/cwt.

The August feeder cattle contract ended the week at $217.45/cwt, up 20 cents for the week. The September feeder cattle contract closed at $216.10/cwt.

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