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Cattle Futures Slump on Signs of Weak Beef Demand; Hogs Decline

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle prices fell for the first time in three sessions on signs of slowing U.S. demand for beef. Hog futures declined from a seven-week high.

Meatpackers processed 372,000 cattle in the first three days of this week, down 1.1 percent from the same period a week earlier, and down 5.8 percent from year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Wholesale-beef prices have dropped 2.1 percent this year, government data show.

“Domestic demand has been lackluster,” Dick Quiter, an account executive at McFarland Commodities LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Cattle futures for December delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle $1.26025 a pound in Chicago. The commodity has still risen 3.8 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for November settlement increased 0.2 percent to $1.468 a pound on the CME.

Hog futures for December settlement dropped 1.3 percent to settle at 75.875 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching 77.75 cents, the highest since Aug. 14. Prices have slumped 10 percent this year.

The hog market “just got a little overdone, and maybe moved up a little too fast,” Quiter said. “People just decided to take a little profit.”

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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