CME: Brexit Impact on US Dollar Important for Livestock Markets

US - This week includes the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. And judging from the number of potentially market moving events already on schedule, this could be a long week for futures markets participants, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 21 June 2016
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There are three key reports bunched up at the end of the week: the monthly cattle on feed inventory, the inventory of red meat and poultry in cold storage and the quarterly inventory of hogs and pigs.

All three reports will be released by USDA at the end of the week, Friday, June 24, and we will cover analyst projections and implications of these reports during the course of the week.

In addition, USDA will give us an update of the weekly assessment of US crop and pasture conditions.

Grain markets mounted a significant rally in the last two months and it remains to be seen if the weather risk fears that are currently built into futures pricing do indeed materialise.

The outlook is for above average temperatures across much of the country and the next few weeks will be critical for the corn and soybean crops that have now emerged from the ground and will need plenty of water to stay healthy.

There is one other important date that is not in the USDA calendar. The United Kingdom is organising a vote on Thursday, June 23, asking citizens to decide whether Britain should continue to remain a part of the European Union.

Now this may seem a bit removed from the day to day dealings in US livestock markets but the vote has the potential to dramatically impact broader financial markets, cause significant changes in currency values and affect short term growth projections for the global economy.

There are a lot of economists currently offering projections as to the possible economic effects of this vote but the reality is that no one really knows the true impact if Britain decides to leave the union.

For US livestock producers, we think the most important implication in the short term is what happens to the value of the US dollar and the effect this has on the relative price of US products sold overseas.

The US dollar index declined sharply on Friday as some polls suggested that British voters will decide to stay in the EU, after all. Still, that Thursday vote across the Atlantic is important and something that we all should be paying close attention to.

The table on page 2 shows the weekly summary of livestock and poultry slaughter and production. We have mentioned often and continue to highlight the fact that the carcass weight data included in the weekly summary is an estimate that is vulnerable to significant revisions, especially now when both cattle and hog weights are at an inflection point.

There was some surprise last week when steer weights jumped 5 pounds from the previous week. However, that result was not surprising if you were to track the daily actual MPR reports.

The top chart shows our calculation of steer weights, which shows that weights have continued to increase in the last two weeks (remember the last USDA report was for week ending June 4).

We estimate that weights went up about a pound for the week ending June 11 and then another 3-4 pounds for week ending June 18.

Fed cattle marketings have been much higher than a year ago this June and this should help keep weights at or even below year ago levels going forward.

Fed cattle futures have been very quick to discount forward months but that may change if feedlots continue to work hard to keep the flow moving and stay current through the seasonal summer demand slump.

Hog weights normally decline into the summer and this year is no different. However, the recent decline in weights is much bigger than in previous years and it bears watching.

Already lean hog futures have built significant premiums for July and August, pricing the effects of robust export demand during a time of year when supplies seasonally decline.

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