Cattle gained, erasing earlier losses, after a U.S. government report showed feedlots bought fewer cattle in November compared with a year earlier as dry weather reduces the amount of feed available. Hogs also gained.
Feedlots purchased 1.923 million animals in November, down 5.6 percent from the same month a year earlier, Department of Agriculture data show. Feeders that lost about $118 a head on cattle sold in November are reducing inventories, meaning fewer slaughter-ready animals will be available in March or April.
“We’re going to have very tight numbers for a while,” Lane Broadbent, a vice president at KIS Futures in Oklahoma City, said by telephone. “Looking at the cattle numbers, the herd is shrinking.”
Cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.1 percent to settle at $1.33575 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices, which touched a record $1.345 on Dec. 19, are up 10 percent this year as the U.S. herd shrunk.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement fell less than 0.1 percent to $1.54775 a pound on the CME.
Hog futures for February settlement gained 0.5 percent to 86.9 cents a pound in Chicago.