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Cattle Fall for Second Day as Demand May Decrease; Hogs Decline

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle futures fell for a second day on speculation that demand will ebb for slaughter-ready animals as U.S. consumers reduce beef purchases. Hogs dropped.

Meatpacking plants will probably slow purchases of cattle because they will be shut for the Christmas holiday on Dec. 25. Wholesale beef has dropped for three straight days, reaching $1.9206 a pound yesterday, the lowest since Nov. 9, government data show. Shoppers may be choosing cheaper alternatives after the cost of the meat climbed 8 percent since the end of July.

“Packers aren’t going to need to kill cattle, and they don’t need to own a lot of cattle because of the holidays,” Lane Broadbent, a vice president at KIS Futures in Oklahoma City, said by telephone. With such high beef prices, “there’s a shock factor there, especially when you go to the meat counter,” he said.

Cattle futures for February delivery slid 0.3 percent to $1.3305 a pound at 9:53 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices, which touched a record $1.345 on Dec. 19, were up 9.9 percent this year through yesterday as the U.S. herd shrunk.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement dropped 0.2 percent to $1.546 a pound on the CME.

Hog futures for February settlement fell 0.2 percent to 86.3 cents a pound in Chicago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in Chicago at tdreibus@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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