Cattle futures surged to a record on signs of increasing demand for U.S. beef.
Meatpackers processed 259,000 cattle in the first two days of this week, up 7 percent from a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Beef demand is picking up on the East Coast as consumers boost purchases in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Jason Roose, an analyst at U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview.
“We’ve found good resurgence in the beef demand, and we’re still looking at the tight numbers giving us strong support in the cattle market,” Roose said.
Cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.7 percent to $1.31475 a pound at 10:05 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the most-active contract reached a record $1.31725. The commodity headed for the fifth straight gain, the longest rally since mid-May.
Through yesterday, cattle gained 7.5 percent this year.
Wholesale beef gained 0.1 percent yesterday to $1.9428 a pound, the highest this month, USDA data show.
Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement advanced 0.9 percent to $1.473 a pound in Chicago.
Hog futures for February settlement increased 0.4 percent to 88.075 cents a pound. The price headed for the fifth straight gain, the longest rally since early June.
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