Bloomberg News

Cattle Prices Decline on Signs of Slack U.S. Beef Demand

January 16, 2013

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.

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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