Cattle Prices Gain on Signs of Increasing Beef Demand; Hogs Rise

Cattle futures climbed for the third time this week on signs of increasing demand for U.S. beef. Hogs also advanced.

Wholesale-beef prices jumped 1.2 percent to $1.8576 a pound yesterday, the highest since March 26 and the fourth straight increase, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Meatpackers processed an estimated 347,000 head of cattle this week through yesterday, up 3.3 percent from the same period a week earlier, USDA data show.

“Boxed beef has been doing fine,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. Current meat prices may allow processors to buy more cattle and bid more for available supply, he said.

Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.5 percent to $1.15425 a pound at 10:13 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Before today, prices retreated 5.5 percent this year.

Spot-steer prices averaged $1.22 a pound in the first two days of this week, up 1.8 percent from the same period a week earlier, government data show.

Hog futures for June settlement increased 0.6 percent to 87.875 cents a pound in Chicago. Before today, prices rose 3.6 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement fell less than 0.1 percent to $1.55475 a pound in Chicago.

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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