Cattle Slump on Outlook for Slow Grilling Demand; Hogs Drop

Cattle futures extended a decline on speculation that persistent cold weather in the U.S. will keep consumers from grilling outdoors, signaling lower meat demand. Hog prices also fell.

Cold weather is expected to persist through the rest of March across large Midwest and East Coast cities. From March 20 to 29, temperatures in the central U.S. may be 8 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit below normal, according to MDA Weather Services. When temperatures warm up, more people grill outdoors, boosting meat demand, said Christian Mayer, a market adviser at Northstar Commodity Investments Co. in Minneapolis.

“Domestic demand was probably hurting already,” Mayer said in a telephone interview. “The cold weather’s not helping at all.”

Cattle futures for June delivery dropped 0.2 percent to $1.2075 a pound at 9:52 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Yesterday, the commodity touched $1.201, the lowest for the most-active contract since July 18. Prices fell as low as $1.202 earlier today.

Wholesale beef retreated 0.8 percent yesterday to $1.9418 a pound, the biggest decline since Feb. 15, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement slid 1.1 percent to $1.38825 a pound in Chicago.

Hog futures for June settlement fell 1.1 percent to 87.275 cents a pound on the CME.

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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