By Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri
The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in June and the number of people in the labor force declined by 432,000. This combination pulled the unemployment rate down to 5.3%. Overall the numbers indicate continuing slow growth.
Compared to last week, there was some early fireworks show on this holiday shortened week with a volatile ride in the cattle futures and major moves in the grain trade. Several auctions held special yearling sales this week, on Monday yearling feeders were mostly steady to 3.00 lower at two of the major auctions at the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City with 6,660 head and Joplin Regional Stockyards offering 5,395 on a yearling special. On Tuesday feeder contracts traded limit to near limit lower and auctions responded with caution flags waving with several auctions 5.00-10.00 lower.
Natural gas price movements are mixed. Prices at most market locations moved by 3¢ to 5¢ through the report week, with exceptions in the West, where above-average temperatures raised prices by more than 10¢ at some locations, and in the Northeast, where cooler weather brought double-digit price declines. Prices in the Rockies rose by a nickel or less, while at PG&E Citygate, serving Northern California, prices rose by 16¢, from $3.13/MMBtu last Wednesday to $3.29/MMBtu yesterday.
Choice boxed beef prices dropped again on Thursday, falling $2.51 to hit $250.27 on Thursday. The decrease brought the 27-day average price to $251.63. Select boxed beef prices also fell from $249.52 on Wednesday to $248.42 on Thursday. The $1.10 drop resulted in the 27-day average price settling at $244.80.
Choice primal loin prices saw a huge drop in prices on Thursday, falling $7.48 to hit $333.22. The massive increase brought the 27-day average price to $348.13. Choice primal round was the next highest fall, dropping $3.35 to hit $226.10.
Petroleum product exports averaged 4.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in the first four months of the year, the latest monthly data available. This was an increase of 0.5 million b/d over the same time last year. Product imports are also higher than last year, but to a lesser extent, leading to an increase in net petroleum product exports (Figure 1). Import and export patterns vary by region (Figure 2), with most exports leaving from the Gulf Coast (PADD 3), and imports coming to the East Coast (PADD 1). Record high refinery runs and increased global demand for petroleum products from the United States continue to push net exports higher.
The 2015 corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 88.9 million acres, down 2 percent from last year. This represents the lowest planted acreage in the United States since 2010. Growers expect to harvest 81.1 million acres for grain, down 2 percent from last year. Farmers responding to the survey indicated that 98 percent of the intended corn acreage had been planted at the time of the interview, the same as the 10-year average.