Cattle prices fell on signs of slack demand for beef. Hog futures also declined.
Wholesale beef fell yesterday to a three-week low, and meatpackers processed 256,000 cattle in the first two days of this week, down 0.4 percent from a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Processors are losing $45 a head, Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview.
“Demand is still weak,” Dick Quiter, an account executive at McFarland Commodities LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “It’s kind of a snowballing situation. Cattle numbers are down, but demand is down proportionally, and packers are losing money. That adds up to a lower market.”
Cattle futures for April delivery dropped 0.3 percent to $1.34025 a pound at 10:03 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Through yesterday, the price climbed 1.6 percent this month.
Yesterday, wholesale beef declined 0.3 percent to $1.9346 a pound, the lowest since Dec. 21.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement fell 0.2 percent to $1.5005 a pound in Chicago.
Hog futures for April settlement dropped 0.1 percent to 87.525 cents a pound.
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