Cattle Outlook: Green Light for COOL Retaliation

December 14, 2015 10:04 AM

The World Trade Organization has given Canada and Mexico a green light to impose tariffs on U.S. products they import.
By: Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri

The tariffs are in retaliation to our country of origin labeling law for cattle and hogs which the WTO has four times ruled to be a violation of international trade agreements. It is unclear how long it will take Canada and Mexico to put the tariffs in place.

U.S. beef imports were down 12.9% in October. The decline in imports was due to a big drop in shipments from Australia.

U.S. beef exports were down 14.4% compared to October 2014. Except for Mexico, most major foreign buyers took less U.S. beef this October than last.

Beef imports equaled 11.2% of U.S. beef production while beef exports equaled 9.2% of production.

Year-over-year, live cattle imports were down 28.7% in October with a 56.1% decline in Canadian imports more than offsetting a 12.2% increase in cattle imports from Mexico. Thus far for 2015, cattle imports are down 7.4%.

This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $203.05/cwt, down 32 cents from the previous Friday and down $42.58 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $188.45/cwt, down $4.17 from last week.

Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $118.41/cwt, down $5 from last week's average and down $44.70 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $187.27/cwt, down $7.17 for the week and down $69.28 compared to the same week last year.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on November 28 was 923 pounds, down 2 pounds from the week before.

Cattle slaughter this week totaled 581,000 head, up 3.75% from the week before and up 1.9% from the same week last year.

Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were $8 to $12 lower this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $206-$229, 450-500# $203-$226, 500-550# $185-$217, 550-600# $167-$199, 600-650# $160.75-$184.50, 650-700# $155-$166, 700-750# $152-$167.25, 750-800# $150-$164, 800-900# $150-$163 and 900-1000#, $141-$159.50/cwt.

Cattle futures were lower this week. The December live cattle futures contract settled at $121.45/cwt today, down $2.82 for the week. February fed cattle settled at $126.25/cwt, down $2.97 from the previous week.

January feeder cattle ended the week at $152.15/cwt, down $7.30 from a week earlier. March lost $7.13 this week and closed at $150.12/cwt.

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