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Cattle Drop to Lowest Since July on Weak Beef Demand; Hogs Fall

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle futures fell to the lowest in nine months on signs of weak U.S. beef demand amid cold weather and slow exports. Hog prices also dropped.

Wholesale beef slid 0.9 percent last week and was little changed at $1.8946 a pound as of midday, a two-week low, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The forecast for the central and eastern U.S. is cooler than expected for the next six to 10 days, according to an e-mailed report from MDA Weather Services today. A “cool trough” will also linger near the East Coast, the weather service said. Consumers grill outdoors during warmer weather, increasing meat demand.

“This week the market is expected to remain flat as spring beef demand has yet to pick up due to cold, wet weather throughout much of the country,” Troy Vetterkind, the owner of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage LLC in Thorp, Wisconsin, said in an e-mailed report. The chuck and round cuts of beef “continue to be hampered by slack exports and soft domestic demand.”

Cattle futures for June delivery retreated 0.8 percent to settle at $1.19825 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after touching $1.19375, the lowest for the most-active contract since July 12. The price has declined 9.4 percent this year.

U.S. beef-export sales totaled 10,196 metric tons (22.48 million pounds) in the week ended April 4, down 32 percent from the four-week average, according to government figures.

Hog futures for June settlement fell 1.4 percent to close at 88.6 cents a pound on the CME, the biggest drop since April 5.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement slumped 0.8 percent to $1.398 a pound.

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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