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Cattle, Hogs Fall as U.S. Meat Demand May Slow After Summer

Cattle futures fell for a fourth straight day on speculation that U.S. meat demand will slow after the Labor Day holiday as the weather cools.

The holiday, celebrated Sept. 6 this year, is considered the end of the summer grilling season, said Lane Broadbent, a vice president at KIS Futures Inc. Tight livestock supplies and rising meat consumption have sent wholesale-beef prices up 15 percent in the past year and pork rallied 67 percent.

“Our domestic demand should soften up a little bit,” Broadbent said from Oklahoma City. “After Labor Day, it gets pretty thin on what kind of beef demand we’re going to have. We’re getting into an area where there’s no demand.”

Cattle futures for October delivery dropped 0.425 cent, or 0.4 percent, to close at 98.1 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The four-day slump is the longest since May 17 and capped a 1.2 percent decline for the week. Feeder-cattle futures for October delivery fell 0.45 cent, or 0.4 percent, to $1.17 a pound.

Hog futures for October settlement fell 0.975 cent, or 1.3 percent, to 74.825 cents a pound in Chicago. The four-day decline is the longest since June 7. The price fell 3.1 percent this week.

Wholesale-beef prices gained 8.2 percent this month through yesterday to $1.643 a pound, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Pork prices have dropped 3.1 percent in the past two days to 93.73 cents.

Cattle prices also dropped on speculation that slaughter-ready animals will be heavier when they are sold to beef processors, adding to the amount of meat each will produce, Broadbent said. Feeder cattle also are fatter than normal before they get to feedlots, after grazing on pastures, he said.

“We’re going to see a lot of cattle” coming to slaughterhouses weighing more, Broadbent said. “In Oklahoma and Kansas, they’ve had enough rain, so the grass is good. Cattle coming off of pasture are heavy. In 45 days, we’re going to see large amounts of cattle because they’re coming off grass now.”

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