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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          04/11 11:52

   Hogs Refocus, Return to Higher Trade 

   Bids are currently being offered in the cash cattle market but still no 
cattle have traded by midday Thursday. 

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   The livestock complex is trading mixed into Thursday's noon hour as the lean 
hog market refocuses following Wednesday's lower close and is back to trading 
higher. Meanwhile, cattle contracts are trading mostly lower as traders aren't 
enthused by the news of another state finding a case of Highly Pathogenic Avian 
Influenza (HPAI) in some dairy cattle. May corn is down 3 1/4 cents per bushel 
and May soybean meal is up $3.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 
117.22 points.

   Thursday's export report shared that beef net sales of 13,600 metric tons 
(mt) for 2024 were down 27% from the previous week but up 2% from the prior 
four-week average. The three largest buyers were South Korea (3,700 mt), Japan 
(2,700 mt) and China (1,800 mt). Pork net sales of 47,400 mt for 2024 were up 
65% from the previous week and up 33% from the prior four-week average. The 
three largest buyers were Mexico (19,700 mt), South Korea (9,200 mt) and China 
(7,200 mt).


   Even though the morning's WASDE outlook was promising and again supported 
the market's long-term bullish outlook, today's complex can't seem to shake the 
bearish weight sucking the air out of the live cattle market. There has been 
another case of HPAI in some dairy cattle in North Carolina which seems to be 
today's biggest troubling factor. States with confirmed cases are North 
Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico and Ohio.

   April live cattle are up $0.35 at $179.47, June live cattle are up $0.45 at 
$173.30 and August live cattle are down $0.02 at $170.67. There are a few bids 
currently being offered, but still no cash cattle trade has developed. Bids of 
$180 to $181 are currently being offered in Texas and bids of $293 to $295 are 
currently being offered in Nebraska. Southern asking prices remain firm at $186 
and Northern asking prices are set at $295 to $297. At this point, trade is 
likely delayed until Friday.

   Thursday's WASDE report was supportive of both the cattle and beef markets. 
Beef production for 2024 grew by 130 million pounds from last month's 
projection as carcass weights are heavier and processing speeds are projected 
to run more aggressively than originally assumed. The continued interest in 
beef products mixed with tight supplies also favored quarterly steer price 
projections as all three quarters remaining in 2024 saw price increases from 
March's WASDE projection. The second quarter of 2024 is now expected to average 
$185 (up $2), the third quarter is expected to average $184 (up $2) and the 
fourth quarter is expected to average $190 (up $4). 2024 imports remained 
unchanged at 4,175 million pounds, but 2024 beef exports grew by 20 million 

   Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.42 ($298.65) and select up $1.11 
($297.13) with a movement of 70 loads (30.51 loads of choice, 6.59 loads of 
select, zero loads of trim and 32.84 loads of trim).


   Try as it might, the feeder cattle complex simply can't seem to win this 
week. With another case of HPAI detected in North Carolina, the live cattle 
market has slumped back into trading lower which lends no support to feeders. 
Yes, corn prices are trading slightly lower, but that's not enough to currently 
shake the market's bearish tone in the cattle sector. April feeders are down 
$0.52 at $237.75, May feeders are up $0.65 at $237.17 and August feeders are 
down $0.15 at $247.45.


   Following Wednesday's sharply lower close, the lean hog complex is back to 
trading higher, thanks to yet another support export sale and supportive WASDE 
outlook. June lean hogs are up $0.27 at $105.82, July lean hogs are up $0.20 at 
$107.67 and August lean hogs are up $0.07 at $105.35. Between the supportive 
outlook that the WASDE report forecasts and the higher note in midday pork 
cutout values, the hog complex is feeling confident in its upward trail despite 
inflation for our economy and its consumers.

   The projected lean hog index for Aril 10 is up $1.06 at $89.84 and the 
actual index for April 9 is up $0.90 at $88.78. Hog prices are lower on the 
Daily Direct Morning Hog Report, down $1.30 with a weighted average price of 
$88.23, ranging from $86 to $92 on 1,028 head and a five-day rolling average of 
$87.67. Pork cutouts total 125.22 loads with 111.05 loads of pork cuts and 
14.17 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.86, $101.11.

   Thursday's WASDE report was supportive of both the hog and pork markets. 
Pork production for 2024 increased by 180 million pounds as packers have been 
running processing speeds more aggressively than originally assumed. The 
market's current pork demand has also helped increase hog prices and all three 
of the remaining quarters of 2024 saw a price increase from last month's 
projection. Hog prices in the second quarter of 2024 are expected to average 
$68 (up $3), third-quarter prices are expected to average $72 (up $5) and the 
fourth quarter is expected to average $57 (up $1). 2024 pork imports grew by 20 
million pounds, but exports also grew by 210 million pounds.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached at ShayLe.Stewart@dtn.com



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