Cattle May Drop on Signs of Slowing U.S. Beef Demand; Hogs Gain

Cattle futures, little changed in Chicago, may fall on speculation that demand for U.S. beef is slowing amid increasing supplies of the meat. Hogs rose.

Wholesale beef has dropped 1 percent in the past month to $1.9424 a pound, government data show. Packers are losing more than $60 a head, said Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. About 1.061 million cattle have been processed this year, down 12 percent from the same period in 2012, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

“Consumer demand is iffy,” Roose said in a telephone interview from West Des Moines, Iowa. “The beef supplies look like they’re going to remain large until the middle of February.”

Cattle futures for April delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.346 a pound at 9:54 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Through Jan. 11, the most-active contract gained 1.7 percent this year.

U.S. beef output this year will total 24.9 billion pounds (11.3 million metric tons), up 0.9 from a December projection, the USDA said Jan. 11.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement slumped 0.4 percent to $1.50825 a pound.

Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.9 percent to 87.9 cents a pound. Prices gained 1 percent last week.

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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