Cattle rose the most in three weeks on signs of increasing demand for U.S. beef. Hog prices fell.
Meatpackers processed 497,000 cattle in the first four days of this week, up 2.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Beef-export sales were 14,188 metric tons (31.28 million pounds) in the week ended Jan. 17, up 34 percent from the four-week average, USDA data show.
Cattle futures for April delivery climbed 0.6 percent to $1.3115 a pound at 10 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A close at that level would be the biggest gain for the most- active contract since Jan. 3. Through yesterday, prices are down 1.5 percent this month.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement added 0.4 percent to $1.48575 a pound on the CME.
Hog futures for April settlement slid 0.5 percent to 89.225 cents a pound in Chicago. Prices are up 4.6 percent this month through yesterday.
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