Last week was a short one here in the U.S. since last Thursday was a national holiday, our Thanksgiving Day. Several U.S. hide suppliers did not bother to put out offer lists last week, and other suppliers had short lists. This, we believe, was mostly a function of last being a short week. On top of the holiday, a strong early-season snowstorm reduced the work week at many of the western and mid-western cattle slaughter plants. Despite these happenings, the FIS was not bad and there was more business put together on U.S. hides than we expected there would be. The sales that took place on Plump Steer Heifer selections were done at steady money at best. Some of the sales that were made were the result of unsolicited bids for items that suppliers did not have on their offer lists. Most of the unsolicited business that was put together was on Dairy Steer and Dairy Cow hides. As a result of the persistent demand for these Dairy type hides, suppliers were able to pull their sale prices up by $1.00 or so on those selections. Sellers of some lesser-grading Plump Branded Cow hides also sold product at prices steady to up $1.00 per piece. But, even those new $1.00 higher sale prices still do not cover processing and transportation expenses. From a seller’s point of view, last week’s U.S. Export Sales and Export Shipment numbers for U.S. raw and wet blue cattle hides, which were reported by the USDA, were not high enough to be a positive.
Below are our per piece FOB plant price quotes for seasonal average weight Big Packer Steer hides at the close of business last Friday:
- Heavy Native Steer hides at $38.00 to $39.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
- Butt Branded Steer hides at $35.00 to $36.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
- Heavy Texas Steer hides at $26.00 to 27.00 per piece, unchanged for the week.
Last Friday the USDA released its Export Sales Report for the week ending Thursday, November 21st. The report stated that 562,600 raw and wet blue U.S. cattle hides were sold for export during that week. This number is similar the 570,400 pieces reported to have been sold the prior week. China was the number one destination buying 361,500 or about 64 percent of the pieces sold. Korea was the distant second place with 50,100 units purchased.
The USDA estimated Federally Inspected Slaughter (FIS), for the holiday shortened week ending Saturday, November 30, 2019, was at 556,000 cattle. Year to date, FIS is 30,344,000 which is up 1.1 percent from years number.
Ho, Ho, Ho it’s back to work we go. Beef packers will be back to work in full force this week after last week’s holiday and weather abbreviated work schedules. We expect all major U.S. hide suppliers will put out offer lists this week, and we think they will again be looking to move their selling prices higher. After what seems like forever, there have been a few signs over the last couple weeks that U.S. hide sellers may be gaining some momentum in their quest to move their sales prices higher. There were a few selections such as Holstein Steers, Holstein Cows and Branded Cows that suppliers did see values move up a bit over the last couple of weeks. So, will the upward price movement on those selections rub off on the market as a whole? If one is in the business of marketing U.S. raw and wet blue cattle hides, you hope so.
“I never get mad at my partners for hitting it into the woods or missing a short putt. It’s not like they did it on purpose. I like getting close to them and whispering. It’s OK—I never threw an interception I wanted to throw.”
- Legionary Quarterback Joe Namath