LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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Brazil Beef Exports Plunged in April Amid Graft Probe -- Market Talk

13:27 ET - Exports of Brazilian beef dropped 18% in April from a year earlier because of an investigation into alleged corruption among meat inspectors in the South American country, according to Brazilian beef producers group Abrafrigo. The country exported 88,947 metric tons of beef last month, down from 108,898 tons a year earlier and the value of exports fell 14% to $362.2M, the group said. It was the third consecutive month of declining exports, according to Abrafrigo. The graft investigation announced in March uncovered allegations that some companies were bribing inspectors to issue sanitation certificates for their products. (jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Soybean Oil Rises on U.S. Biodiesel Investigation

CHICAGO -- Soybean oil futures closed higher on Friday after the U.S. said it would continue to investigate biodiesel imports.

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The U.S. International Trade Commission said it found reason to look into whether the U.S. biofuel industry was "materially injured" by imports from Argentina and Indonesia, countries which allegedly subsidize their producers and sell product in the U.S. below fair value.

Ag Secretary Reassures Farmers on Ethanol -- Market Talk

12:34 ET - The Trump administration over the past few months periodically has tried to tamp down concerns that its policy would favor fossil-fuel producers over renewable energy, in particular ethanol, which is a critical source of demand for US corn farmers. Following a speech on an Iowa farm Friday, newly minted USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue gets the question again: "Renewable energy, ethanol is here to stay," Perdue assures assembled farmers and lawmakers. "You have nothing to worry about." EPA head Scott Pruitt in the past had called the US ethanol mandate "unworkable" and Trump during his transition sought advice from other critics of the program. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Rally Stumbles on Profit-Taking

CHICAGO--Cattle futures fell sharply on Friday as money managers booked profits on a soaring livestock rally.

Live cattle futures have been the best-performing commodity so far in 2017, up 37% for the year. Much of the gain came during a 3-day burst that saw futures hit their upper limits multiple times this week, as the number of outstanding contracts rose to record levels.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - May 5

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

May 5 +$21.72 +$ 36.74

May 4 +$19.69 +$ 34.35

May 3 +$21.76 +$ 31.83

* 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 116.7

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 112.2

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose $3.29 per hundred pounds, to $238.87, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $2.73 per hundred pounds, to $219.57. The total load count was 75. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.11, to $77.49 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 05, 2017 17:22 ET (21:22 GMT)