Cattle futures rose for the first time in four sessions on speculation that U.S. beef demand will outpace supplies. Hogs also gained.
Beef output in the U.S. will drop 4 percent in 2013, after the domestic cattle herd on Jan. 1 sunk to a 61-year low, government data show. Wholesale prices for the meat reached $1.989 a pound as of midday, the highest since October, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Consumers tend to start grilling outdoors at this time of year, boosting meat demand.
“Cattle numbers just aren’t that big,” Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group in Yates City, Illinois, said in a telephone interview. “We’re probably going to go from winter to summer in 36 hours, and that will certainly make the retailer feel like there’s going to be some meat demand at the counter.”
Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.5 percent to settle at $1.22475 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the first gain since April 25.
Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement slipped 0.1 percent to $1.48725 a pound.
Hog futures for June settlement added 0.4 percent to 92.95 cents a pound. Prices are up 8.4 percent this year.
Spot hogs rose for the seventh straight session yesterday to 83.73 cents a pound, the highest since Feb. 13, according to USDA data. Prices are up 3.9 percent this year.