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Cattle Prices Increase as Beef Supplies Shrink; Hogs Unchanged

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle futures rose for the first time in three sessions on signs of shrinking U.S. supplies. Hog prices were steady.

Meatpackers processed 253,000 head of cattle in the first two days of this week, down 2.3 percent from a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The number of cattle offered by feedlots for slaughter has dropped, Lane Broadbent, a vice president at KIS Futures in Oklahoma City, said in a telephone interview.

“Our showlist size, overall, has been lighter,” signaling “less supply, and if we have steady demand, it should make our prices increase,” Broadbent said.

Cattle futures for October delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $1.2375 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The most-active contract dropped 1.2 percent in the previous two sessions.

Steers in the spot market averaged $1.1717 a pound last week, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, government data show. Feedlots buy year-old animals that weigh 500 pounds (227 kilograms) to 800 pounds, and fatten them on corn until they weigh about 1,200 pounds, when they are sold to slaughterhouses.

Wholesale beef climbed 0.6 percent to $1.9322 a pound as of midday, the biggest increase since Aug. 17, USDA data show.

Feeder-cattle futures for October settlement rose 0.4 percent to settle at $1.44475 a pound on the CME, after reaching $1.45525, the highest since Aug. 16.

Hog futures for October settlement settled unchanged at 73.25 cents a pound. The price has fallen 13 percent this year.

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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