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Cattle Decline to Three-Month Low as Export Demand Ebbs

Cattle futures fell to a three-month low on signs of waning export demand for U.S. beef. Hogs also declined.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed today that beef- export sales fell to 7,302 metric tons (16.1 million pounds) in the week ended Feb. 7, down 25 percent from a week earlier. Meatpackers processed 353,000 cattle in the first three days of this week, down 1.9 percent from a year earlier.

“To get a really good market going, you need some export business,” Chad Henderson, the president of Prime Agricultural Consulting Inc., said in a telephone interview from Brookfield, Wisconsin. “On the beef side, that’s on shaky ground.”

Cattle futures for April delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1.29125 a pound at 10:25 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price slumped as much as 1.4 percent to $1.276, the lowest for a most-active contract since Nov. 12.

Through yesterday, cattle dropped 2.2 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement rose 0.1 percent to $1.4155 a pound. Earlier, the commodity touched $1.39175, the lowest since July 31.

Hog futures for April settlement declined 1.4 percent to 84.625 cents a pound. Earlier, the price touched 84.425 cents, the lowest since Jan. 10.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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