Post-holiday demand was soft again last week making cash cattle marketing a challenge. The Canfax average steer and heifer price closed the week at $116.50/cwt and $115.50/cwt respectively, down $1.00-1.50 from the previous week. The bulk of dressed trade was reported at $195.00/cwt delivered. The strong Canadian dollar effectively restricted American buyer interest last week and few if any local cash cattle traded south. The Alberta fed cash to futures basis strengthened to close the week at -13.43. Canadian fed exports to the US for the week ending December 29th totaled 4,602.

Many commercial auction facilities resumed back to their regular sale schedules and the feeder market was lightly tested. Demand for calves was softer with prices reported $2.00-5.00/cwt lower compared to the end of December. 5-800lb steers and heifers saw prices virtually steady with year-end trade. Last week’s 850lb feeder basis was weaker than historical (2008-20012) levels. Reported auction volumes totaled 10,700. Feeder exports to the US for the week ending December 29 totaled 498.

Strengthening US national boner cow prices has in turn supported our domestic market. From the end of December butcher cow prices have strengthened $1.50/cwt. D1, D2 cow price last week averaged $70.00/cwt with live trade reported from $65.00-76.00/cwt. Last week butcher bulls averaged $76.80/cwt and live trade was reported from $68.00-85.00/cwt. Non-fed exports to the US for the week ending December 29th totaled 3,551.

Bull factors

  • In 14 out of the last 15 trading sessions Select cutouts have closed higher

  • Last week it was announced that JBS will acquire Canadian operations XL Foods

  • Market ready supplies still remain quite current

Bear factors

  • USDA crop production report indicated corn ending stocks were tighter than pre report estimates

  • Captive fed supplies across North American remain ample which has moderated interest in the cash market

  • Processing margins remain poor and could force packers to slow production

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