Cattle Futures Rise as Dollar Drop May Boost U.S. Beef Exports; Hogs Fall

Cattle futures rose for the first time in three sessions as a decline in the dollar improved prospects for U.S. beef exports. Hogs declined.

The dollar fell the most in more than two weeks against a basket of six major currencies. The U.S. sold 87 percent more beef to overseas buyers in the four weeks ended April 22 than in the same period last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. Pork exports this year through February were up 1.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the most-recent data.

Beef exports “were good, so if the dollar can stay lower here, that should firm things up,” said Christian Mayer, a market adviser at Northstar Commodity Investments Co. in Minneapolis. “We do have help from the outside markets today, which are more in favor of beef and pork working higher.”

Cattle futures for June delivery climbed 0.45 cent, or 0.5 percent, to 93.875 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price fell 2.2 percent in the previous two sessions as the dollar index surged to the highest level in almost 11 months. Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement gained 0.3 cent to $1.15825 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement slipped 0.775 cent, or 0.9 percent, to 83.825 cents a pound on the CME, after earlier gaining as much as 0.4 percent. The most-active contract is up 26 percent in the past year, as losses spurred by high feed costs and swine flu forced farmers to cut herds.

Pork Declines

Wholesale pork sold for 89.13 cents a pound yesterday, down 1.7 percent since April 26, when the price reached the highest level since August 2008, according to the USDA. High prices may slow retail demand, Mayer said.

Pork “is still at a very high level, even though it’s been down the last couple of days,” Mayer said. “Longer term, it’s hard to stay this high, even though seasonally you usually don’t top out until around mid-May or so.”

Reports of shrinking North American meat supplies may still support futures, Mayer said. Canadian pork inventories on April 1 declined 6 percent from a year earlier to 49,372 metric tons, as farmers cut hog herds, Statistics Canada said today. Canada’s beef supplies plunged 20 percent from a year earlier to 22,980 tons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in Chicago at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net.

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