Cattle futures headed for the biggest gain in a week on signs of climbing demand for U.S. beef. Hogs were little changed.
Meatpackers processed 369,000 cattle in the first three days of this week, up 0.5 percent from a week earlier and 0.8 percent more than the same period in 2012, government data show. Wholesale beef surged 1.6 percent yesterday to $1.9949, the highest since at least January 2004, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.
“When you’ve got better meat prices, cash can follow that, and those fundamentals can help the futures rally too,” Paul Beere, a grain and livestock adviser at Prime Agricultural Consultants in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “It’s the temperatures warming up, and you’re starting to see people grill out.”
Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.8 percent to $1.235 a pound at 9:39 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A close at that level would be the biggest increase for the most-active contract since April 24.
Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement climbed 0.4 percent to $1.493 a pound.
Hog futures for June settlement fell 0.1 percent to 92.875 cents a pound. Prices gained 8.4 percent this year through yesterday.
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