Cattle Prices Slide as Meatpacker Demand Declines; Hogs Drop

Cattle futures dropped on signs that demand for animals is slowing from U.S. processors. Hogs also slumped.

Meatpackers processed 478,000 head of cattle in the first four days of this week, down 0.6 percent from the same period a week earlier, government data show. Wholesale beef yesterday, fell to the lowest since March 4, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

“Boxed-beef prices are not moving extremely well, and these packers have got enough inventory that they can press this market a little bit and buy cattle on their terms,” Lane Broadbent, a vice president at KIS Futures Inc. in Oklahoma City, said by telephone today.

Cattle futures for June delivery declined 0.4 percent to $1.21475 a pound at 10:27 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price is down 7.8 percent this year through yesterday.

Spot steers averaged $1.2476 a pound in the first four days of this week, down 1.4 percent from a year earlier, as weights climbed 4.4 percent, government data show.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement rose 0.1 percent to $1.4065 a pound in Chicago.

Hog futures for June settlement declined 0.4 percent to 89.175 cents a pound in Chicago. The price climbed 4.5 percent this year through yesterday.

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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