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Cattle Prices Slide on Slowing Export Demand for Beef; Hogs Drop

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April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle futures fell for the third time this week on signs of weak demand for U.S. beef. Hog prices also declined.

Export sales of beef totaled 10,508 metric tons (23.2 million pounds) in the week ended March 28, down 39 percent from a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed today. Wholesale-beef prices were little changed as of midday at $1.9158 a pound. Meatpackers processed 470,000 cattle in the first four days of this week, down 5.4 percent from a year earlier, government data show.

“You’re going to have trouble sustaining any upward movement in beef prices,” with exports and domestic demand “being at lower levels, especially for the better cuts,” Dick Quiter, an account executive at McFarland Commodities LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “It’s just a tough time for the meats here in general.”

Cattle futures for June delivery dropped 0.7 percent to settle at $1.2235 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price has fallen 1.6 percent this week.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement slid 0.4 percent to $1.4595 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement declined 0.5 percent to 92.025 cents a pound. The commodity is up 7.3 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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