Local packer interest in the cash market was mixed and competition in the cash market was virtually non-existent. Moderate to active trade was reported last week, the Canfax average steer and heifer price closed the week at $116.00/cwt and $115.75/cwt respectively, up $1.00 from the previous week. Dressed sales were reported from $193.00-198.00/cwt delivered. US packer interest was reported and light volumes of Canadian fed cattle were sold on a negotiated cash basis. Accumulated sale volumes last week totaled 7,900. The Alberta fed cash to futures basis weakened 0.42 to close the week at -11.61. Canadian fed exports to the US for the week ending January 19th totaled 5,267.

A more positive tone in the cattle markets helped lift all categories of feeder cattle higher, as feeder cattle prices had previously been sliding lower most of the month of January. The Canfax average steer prices closed the week $1.83 higher while heifers strengthened $0.96. 7-900 lb steers and heifers traded $1.00-2.00 higher. The Western Canadian Calf index closed the week at $145.06/cwt, up $3.89. Alberta auction volumes last week totaled 23,500. Canadian feeder exports to the US for the week ending January 19th totaled 2,601.

Alberta cow prices were reported mixed. D1, D2 cow prices eased generally $0.50 with live trade reported from $69.00-79.00/cwt. Last week D3 cows average $65.50/cwt. Rail bids were reported fully steady, ranging from $140.00-145.00 delivered. Butcher bulls averaged $77.25/cwt, up $2.80/cwt. Canadian non-fed exports to the US for the week ending January 19th totaled 9,269.

Bull factors

  • Japan eased North American import restrictions from 21 months of age to 30

  • Non-fed and fed exports so far are running 200% above year ago levels

  • Last Friday, Northern U.S. fed values traded $3.00-4.00 higher on a dressed basis

Bear factors

  • Choice cutout values have not been reported this low since the beginning of August

  • North American packing plants have slowed chain speeds

  • Feeding margins remain negative

For more detailed information on markets this week please visit the Canfax website www.canfax.ca.