Moderate fed trade developed on Wednesday at dressed prices $2.00/cwt higher than the previous week. Follow up trade on Thursday saw dressed sales $1.00/cwt higher than Wednesday and $3.00/cwt higher than the previous week. The Alberta cash to futures basis was a seasonally strong -3.05. Reported sale volumes of 14,250 head were larger than the previous week. Renewed buyer interest out of Ontario last week was seen in Manitoba, and some cattle traded to the east. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the short holiday week ending May 25th totaled 28,534 head. Canadian fed cattle exports to the U.S. for the week ending May 18th were at 8,295 head. YTD fed export volumes for the same week were up 5%.

Demand for feeder steers improved last week while interest for heifers remained generally lackluster. The Canfax average feeder steer price firmed over $0.50 higher last week while heifer prices trended almost $0.25/cwt lower. The Western Canadian calf index rebound sharply last week. YTD Alberta auction volumes are 6% larger than the same week last year. Canadian feeder exports for the week ending May 18th totaled 4,022 head.

Slaughter cow prices trended $2.00-3.00 lower last week and dressed bids generally softened $2.00 lower. Butcher bull prices followed the downward trend slipping $2.50/cwt lower than the previous week. Canadian non-fed exports to the US for the week ending May 18th totaled 6,675 head.

Bull factors

  • Local cash feedlot supplies continue to be current
  • Moisture conditions have improved throughout western Canada and the U.S. drought area is shrinking
  • Cattle futures may now have found bottom

Bear factors

  • U.S. market ready supplies are trending larger and less current
  • Higher retail beef prices will test consumer demand
  • Cutouts seasonally will likely trend lower moving forward

For more detailed information on markets this week please visit the Canfax website