Cattle futures dropped for a third straight day on speculation that demand for U.S. beef is slowing as grocers fill orders for the summer holidays. Hog prices also declined.
Meatpackers processed 3.9 percent fewer cattle in the first four days of this week than the same period in 2012, government data show. Wholesale beef fell 0.6 percent to $2.0063 a pound yesterday, the lowest since May 6, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Independence Day on July 4 is the most-popular day for outdoor grilling, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
“For the most part, the beef trade remains rather stagnant,” Troy Vetterkind, the owner of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage LLC in Thorp, Wisconsin, said in an e-mailed report. “We could see the market trade sideways early next week as retailers finish Fourth of July buying.”
Cattle futures for August delivery slumped 0.4 percent to $1.186 a pound at 10:29 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, heading for a second straight weekly decline, down 0.5 percent.
Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement slid 0.4 percent to $1.44875 a pound.
Hog futures for August settlement fell 0.6 percent to 96.75 cents a pound. The contract is still up 1.6 percent for the week.
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