Bloomberg News

Cattle Slump as Demand for U.S. Meat May Weaken; Hogs Gain

October 06, 2011

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle futures declined for the second time this week on speculation the global economy is slowing, signaling reduced demand for U.S. meat. Hog prices climbed for the third straight day.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index averaged minus 48.4 from July through September, the weakest reading since the first quarter of 2009. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said this week that the economic recovery is “close to faltering.” World food prices fell for a third straight month in September, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization said.

“Concerns about the economic outlook are weighing on the markets,” Dan Vaught, the owner of Vaught Futures Insights in Altus, Arkansas, said in a telephone interview

Cattle futures for December delivery declined 0.25 cent, or 0.2 percent, to settle at $1.224 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price has jumped 13 percent this year, reaching a record $1.23775 on Oct. 4.

Wholesale beef is down 3.8 percent from the April 5 price of $1.9196 a pound, the highest since at least January 2004.

Hog futures for December settlement climbed 0.8 cent, or 0.9 percent, to settle at 89.225 cents a pound in Chicago. The commodity has gained 12 percent this year.

“Hogs are on a pretty good run,” Dick Quiter, an account executive at McFarland Commodities LLC, said in a telephone interview from Chicago. “There must be some export business still going on.”

Pork imports by China, the world’s largest consumer, may rise to 480,000 metric tons in 2012 from an estimated 445,000 tons this year, “fueled by continued strong Chinese pork demand,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report posted yesterday on its website.

Yesterday, spot-market hog prices jumped 3.4 percent to 93.27 cents a pound, the biggest increase since June 21, USDA data show.

Feeder-cattle futures for November settlement declined 0.175 cent, or 0.1 percent, to $1.41575 a pound.

--Editors: Millie Munshi, Patrick McKiernan

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago at ecampbell14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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