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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          02/29 11:48

   Strong Pork Exports Help Thursday's Trade 

   The lean hog complex is trading higher Thursday as the market capitalizes on 
stronger export sales. 

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   The lean hog complex is trading higher as the market is thankful to see 
plentiful pork interest. Meanwhile, the cattle contracts are lower as the cash 
market's steady trade isn't lighting traders' spark. May corn is down 1/2 cent 
per bushel and May soybean meal is up $3.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average 
is down 72.89 points.

   Thursday's weekly Export Sales and Shipments report shared that beef net 
sales of 12,200 metric tons (mt) for 2024 were down 3% from the previous week 
and 26% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Japan 
(4,300 mt), South Korea (2,000 mt) and Mexico (1,300 mt). Pork net sales of 
32,400 mt for 2024 were up 12% from the previous week but down 11% from the 
prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Mexico (14,500 mt), 
South Korea (5,200 mt) and Canada (3,500 mt).


   Live cattle futures are reacting poorly to cash cattle trading at steady 
prices as traders have grown accustomed to hearing about higher cash prices. 
One would think that with the regression in chain speeds, traders would be 
thankful cash prices aren't lower and find additional comfort in the fact that 
beef prices are continuing to show support. But as the market nears Thursday's 
noon hour, the trend is lower throughout all the live cattle contracts. April 
live cattle are down $0.40 at $185.75, June live cattle are down $0.52 at 
$181.65 and August live cattle are down $0.50 at $180.80. A few more cash 
cattle sales have been reported in the North at $183 -- in Western Nebraska to 
be specific. These prices are steady with last week's business and a couple of 
bids are currently being offered for dressed at $290 in Nebraska as well. A few 
more sales have been reported in Texas at $183, which is steady with last 
week's business.

   Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.40 ($303.43) and select up $2.01 
($294.95) with a movement of 70 loads (34.97 loads of choice, 11.52 loads of 
select, 12.46 loads of trim and 10.86 loads of ground beef).


   The cash cattle market's steady trade has left a sour taste in traders' 
mouths and is affecting both the live cattle and feeder cattle markets. Demand 
out in the countryside remains incredibly strong, but from a technical 
standpoint the market is lagging this week and showing signs of exhaustion. 
March feeders are down $0.62 at $248.97, April feeders are down $1.57 at 
$253.52 and May feeders are down $1.85 at $256.10.


   The lean hog complex is continuing to trade higher as the market is thankful 
for strong pork interest which has been dually noted Thursday in the morning's 
export sales report and midday pork cutout values that are slightly higher. 
April lean hogs are up $0.55 at $86.55, June lean hogs are up $0.97 at $100.52 
and July lean hogs are up $0.85 at $101.65. It's likely packers have virtually 
boughten up all the hogs they're going to this week as there were no new sales 
reported Thursday morning and given that sales were more numerous at higher 
prices on Tuesday and Wednesday.

   The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/28/2024 is up $0.24 at $80.15, and 
the actual index for 2/27/2024 is up $0.13 at $79.91. Hog prices are 
unavailable on the Daily Direct Morning Hog Report because no hogs have traded. 
Pork cutouts total 170.16 loads with 154.20 loads of pork cuts and 15.97 loads 
of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.16, $90.50.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached at

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