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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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05/22/2020 | 05:48pm EDT

TOP STORIES

 

New Reports of African Swine Fever Surface in India -- Market Talk

12:01 ET - Cases of African swine fever have been accumulating in India, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. The OIE says 3,700 hogs have died this year due to the disease, with the outbreaks centralized in the portion of India that shares a border with China and Myanmar. Production of hogs in India is limited but growing, says the National Pork Producers Council. The nation doesn't currently purchase US pork exports, but does outsource most of its pork needs from other countries. July hog futures on the CME fall 1.8%. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

 

Virus Threatens a Minnesota Farm Town's Economic Engine -- Update

WORTHINGTON, Minn. -- Miguel Rivas emigrated from El Salvador to this ethnic melting pot in the middle of farm country 21 years ago, starting out at a meatpacking plant and a dairy farm, while studying computers online. He eventually opened a computer repair shop and cellphone store.

As the coronavirus hit this spring, business stayed fairly brisk, he said, until the hulking JBS USA Holdings meatpacking plant on the edge of town shut down April 20 amid a massive outbreak of Covid-19. Mr. Rivas's business fell off by 90%.

"One day everybody was walking in with face masks," said Mr. Rivas, 39 years old. "They said, 'This is very serious. There are people that are very sick at home.'" Then they stopped coming altogether.

 

STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Bunge Loses Shareholder Vote on Exec Pay -- Market Talk

09:29 ET - Bunge Ltd.'s board of directors and management lost an advisory vote on executive compensation, the company says, after replacing in 2019 much of its senior management. Bunge's new CEO Greg Heckman, who took over in early 2019, received total compensation of $16.7M, including a $1M signing bonus and about $11.5M in stock and option awards. That topped the annual pay of his predecessor Soren Schroder, who exited after investor pressure brought new directors to Bunge's board. Bunge lost $1.3B in 2019, partly due to upheaval from the US-China trade war, versus a $267M profit in 2018. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

 

Rising Food Costs Push Mexican Inflation Higher in Early May

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican consumer prices increased more than expected in the first half of May, with food costs up sharply as the country entered its second full month of social-distancing measures and shutdowns to confront the spread of the new coronavirus.

The consumer price index rose 0.30% from the end of April and was up 2.83% from a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute said Friday. Core CPI, which excludes energy and agricultural produce, increased 0.24% in the first half of this month for an annual rise of 3.76%.

 

FUTURES MARKETS

 

Livestock Falls as Cattle on Feed Report Shows Big Drops -- Market Talk

15:25 ET - Livestock futures finished trading lower, with August live-cattle futures down 0.9% at 97.325 cents a pound, while July lean-hog futures finished down 2.2% at 55.9c. The USDA issued its monthly Cattle on Feed report following the market's close, which showed a 22% decline in feedlot placements for the month of April versus last year, as well as a 24% decline in cattle marketed. This report comes as meatpackers restarted some operations in May, which has placed pressure on cutout prices for both beef and pork. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

 

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - May 22 
 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
 
May 22       +$115.37            +$ 73.15 
 
May 21       +$114.66            +$ 75.69 
 
May 20       +$122.57            +$ 79.99 
 
* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production. 
A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of production of the animals. 
 
Beef-O-Meter 
This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite 
values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices. 
 
                                 Beef 
          For Today             Choice  179.7 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  181.2 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 
 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell $5.07 per hundred pounds, to $396.74, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $8.35 per hundred pounds, to $374.18. The total load count was 101. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.18, to $95.76 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BUNGE LIMITED 6.61% 37.72 Delayed Quote.-38.52%
DAIRY FARM INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS LIMITED -3.52% 4.38 End-of-day quote.-23.29%
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.00% 133.3 End-of-day quote.-11.37%
JBS SA -0.53% 20.67 End-of-day quote.-19.88%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.38% 99.775 End-of-day quote.-20.29%
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