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

Cattle futures fell on signs of weak demand for U.S. beef. Hogs also dropped.

Wholesale beef touched $1.9187 a pound on Nov. 9, a four-week low, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Meatpackers processed 631,000 cattle last week, down 2.3 percent from a week earlier, USDA figures show. The volume of beef shipments in the nine months through September fell 12 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Meat Export Federation said today.

“I’m not impressed with the beef fundamentals,” Dennis Smith, an analyst at Archer Financial Services, said in a telephone interview in Chicago. “It’s a poor time of year for beef demand going into Thanksgiving,” celebrated on Nov. 22 this year, he said.

Cattle futures for December delivery dropped 0.3 percent to close at $1.2535 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price is still up 3.2 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement rose 0.2 percent to $1.4595 a pound in Chicago.

The Veterans Day holiday observed today in the U.S. means some slaughterhouses may be closed, reducing demand for animals, said Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group. About 113,000 cattle were processed today, down 4.2 percent from last week, and meatpackers slaughtered 8.1 percent fewer hogs, USDA data show.

“It’s going to be a lighter kill week,” Kane said in a telephone interview from Yates City, Illinois. “That would somewhat explain a little bit of setback on the cash bid right now.”

Hog futures for December settlement slid 0.5 percent to close at 80.325 cents a pound on the CME. Prices climbed 3.9 percent last week, the biggest gain since June 1.

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