Store cattle price holds up

FEEDER (store) cattle prices in the USA held their ground last week, after dropping sharply during the first three weeks of June.

The beef complex was buoyed by a steep decline in corn prices, which helped maintain the traditional inverse trading pattern between the two sectors.

The Chicago August feeder cattle futures contract closed on Monday (6 July) at 72.175/lb, up 0.55 from last Thursday.

The gain was less than some traders had hoped, a sign that the market is still oversupplied throughout the production chain and especially in the feedlots.

US packers remain concerned about low retail beef demand following the blip in consumption for the 4 July Independence Day holiday, when Americans traditionally fire up their barbecues.

Packers are slaughtering fewer animals, just 107,000 head on Monday, down 20,000 on the week. The light choice-grade beef cutout fell 0.12 to 97.37/lb, down from 100.5/lb last week and 102.1/lb a fortnight ago.

USDA report maintains pig price fall

USA PIG prices continued their precipitous decline this week following the release of a bearish quarterly industry report late last month.

News of rising stocks and a growing breeding herd has driven futures prices lower.

The Chicago lean hogs August futures contract closed last Thursday (2 July) at 54.32/lb, down 2.3 from the previous Friday. But the market staged a small recovery on Monday (6 July) to close at 55.075/lb, up 0.75 on the day.

Traders are still reacting to the US Department of Agricultures quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, which showed a 6% year-on-year rise in pig stocks during June a 1% rise in the breeding herd to 7 million head.

Cash hog prices have fallen along with futures values. The hog price at the terminals dropped about 2.5 on the week to 37.50/lb, before recovering to close on Monday at 38-39/lb.

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    US maize market driven by weather

    FEARS of adverse growing conditions helped US maize prices rally by as much as 15% during the second half of June. But the market gave up most of this gain last week amid news of better weather.

    The Chicago September maize futures contract closed about 30 from a week earlier on Monday (6 July) at 239/bushel, down.

    The improvement in maize conditions has even overshadowed news last Tuesday (30 June) of lower than expected US maize acreage.

    The latest US Department of Agriculture figures show that 80.8 million acres have been planted with maize – the same as previous estimates, but up 0.6m acres on last year.

    Many analysts had forecast a larger increase which would have exacerbated the oversupply situation.

    Some forecasters predict hot dry weather in the Midwest corn belt over the coming days which could support the market. But other traders expect mild weather will enhance crop yields and keep a lid on short-term prices.

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    Signs of recovery in US wheat – despite bumper harvest

    STATESIDE farmers are enjoying a bumper winter wheat harvest. But instead of new-crop supplies driving prices down, the market is showing signs of recovery.

    In Chicago, the September futures contract recovered somewhat on Monday (6 July) on the back of forecasts for dry, hot weather which could hinder the spring wheat harvest.

    The market reversal followed a week of sideways trading. The September contract closed on Monday (6 July) at 281.75/bushel, up 3.25 from last Thursday and roughly unchanged from a week earlier.

    Prices were also helped by news that fewer than expected acres are planted with spring wheat, revealed in the latest quarterly USDA crop report.

    About 69% of the winter wheat crop has now been harvested, compared with 46% at this time last year and a five-year average of 50%.

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    Soya market unchanged in USA

    SOYA BEANS traded both sides of unchanged in the USA last week, pulled in different directions by shifting weather forecasts and conflicting reactions to the latest crop reports from the US Department of Agriculture.

    The USDA increased its estimate of the acreage planted with soyabeans to 72.7 million acres, 1 million acres higher than previous estimates and a record high for the second year running.

    It appears that farmers this spring rushed to switch to soyabeans from loss-making grains such as corn and wheat. That created an oversupply in beans.

    On the positive side, however, carryover stocks at June 1 were estimated at 593 million bushels, a lower than expected figure which could support prices this autumn.

    Meanwhile, most traders and farmers are expecting favourable growing conditions and this is putting a damper on the market. About 95% of the spring crop has emerged and 17% is blooming, according to official estimates.

    The volatile Chicago August soya bean futures contract closed on Monday (6 July) at 625.75/bushel, down from a mid-week high last week of 637/lb, but up from a low of 608/lb.

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