Justice Department Issues Subpoenas to Beef-Processing Giants
The Justice Department is deepening federal antitrust scrutiny of the $213 billion U.S. meat industry, following complaints from farmers and meat buyers about industry pricing practices.
The department recently issued civil subpoenas to the four biggest beef processors, JBS USA Holdings Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Cargill Inc. and National Beef Packing Co., according to people familiar with the matter. JBS and Tyson also are leading pork producers, and the department is seeking information on their activities in that market as well, some of the people said.
STORIES OF INTEREST
Blue Apron Down 3%
Blue Apron Holdings Inc. shares were recently down 3% to $10.67.
The stock surged as at-home food options became more important during the coronavirus pandemic. On March 13, the stock closed at $2.28.
On May 20, Blue Apron reiterated second-quarter guidance and said it "continues to see heightened demand" for its meal kits.
WASDE Focus Expected to be on Demand -- Market Talk
10:49 ET - The USDA's June WASDE report is expected to give grains traders more visibility on what grain demand in the US will look like -- amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic this spring. Key areas of focus for traders will be how much corn will be consumed by the stifled US ethanol industry, as well as what the USDA forecasts for Chinese soybean export demand, says John Newton, chief economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Last month, the USDA raised its forecast for US corn consumption by the ethanol industry to 5.2 billion bushels, up from a forecast of 4.95 billion bushels the previous month. The USDA will release its monthly WASDE report June 11 at noon ET. (email@example.com; @kirkmaltais)
Livestock Futures Finish the Week Lower -- Market Talk
15:24 ET - Livestock futures on the CME closed out trading this week down. For the day Friday, live cattle futures finished down 1.8% at 96.175 cents per pound, while lean hog futures finished 0.7% higher at 53.925 cents per pound. Pork cutouts have somewhat stabilized recently, although the USDA reported pork loin cutouts as down nearly $10 per hundredweight late yesterday. Even so, higher slaughters as meatpacking plants continue to get their operations back to full capacity is expected to keep pressure on meat prices. For the week, live cattle finished down 2.9%, while lean hog futures finished down 1.7%. (firstname.lastname@example.org, @kirkmaltais)
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jun 5
All figures are on a per-head basis.
Date Standard Margin Estimated margin
Operating Index at vertically -
Jun 5 +$ 79.34 +$ 22.02
Jun 4 +$ 82.93 +$ 25.79
Jun 3 +$ 79.85 +$ 26.97
* 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.
This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite
values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices.
For Today Choice 117.7
(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 119.0
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports
Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell $10.78 per hundred pounds, to $261.48, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $13.99 per hundred pounds, to $246.42. The total load count was 155. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.75, to $71.98 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.