In Thursday’s Cattle on Feed Report, the USDA said new placements onto feedlots in March were up 4.8% from a year ago. The April 1st feedlot inventory at 11.96M head was 2.0% above a year ago and the highest April inventory since the data series began in 1996.
China’s African Swine Fever just keeps going from bad to worse. On Thursday, Rabobank said that up to 200 million Chinese pigs could be culled or die as result of the disease. The drop would drag down China’s 2019 pork output by 30% from a year ago – a decline of 16 million metric tons.
It’s that time of year when refiners begin transitioning to more expensive, summer-grade fuel. This year’s seasonal price increases will get an extra boost as a result of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, rising crude oil prices and Midwest flooding that has impeded the production and distribution of ethanol.
In Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report, the USDA said new placements onto feedlots in Feb were up 2.2% from a year ago, surprising private analysts whose consensus forecast was for a 3.8% decrease. The March 1st feedlot inventory at 11.8M head was 0.7% above a year ago, while most agricultural economists had expected the first monthly decline since Dec 2016.
In last week’s Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook, the USDA highlighted strong U.S. protein exports in 2018 driven by “domestic production increases and favorable foreign demand.” The USDA reported 2018 beef exports up 10.3%; pork +4.2%; broiler +4.1% and dairy products +9.5%. Eggs, down 6.1% and turkey -1.8% were the notable exceptions.
In Friday’s WASDE report, the USDA increased 2018/19 corn ending stocks by 100M bushels, based on a projected 25M bushel decrease in corn usage for ethanol and a 75M bushel reduction in corn export forecast.