Cattle Futures Fall to Two-Week Low as Beef Demand Eases

Cattle futures fell to the lowest in two weeks on signs of easing demand for U.S. beef amid increasing supplies. Hog prices were little changed.

Wholesale beef fell 0.7 percent to $2.0026 a pound yesterday, the first drop since April 19, Department of Agriculture data show. The price was little changed at $2.0042 as of midday. U.S. warehouses held a record 513.243 million pounds (232,803 metric tons) of the meat as of March 31, according to the latest government figures.

“The demand’s been holding about steady,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “That’s still been pretty poor. We’re still building a record amount of beef in the coolers at this time of year.”

Cattle futures for June delivery fell 0.4 percent to close at $1.20825 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After the settlement, the price touched $1.2065, the lowest for the most-active contract since April 24.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement dropped 0.6 percent to $1.4655 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement fell less than 0.1 percent to 91.3 cents a pound. The price has climbed 6.5 percent this year.

Meatpackers processed 811,000 hogs in the first two days of the week, down 2.6 percent from a week earlier, USDA data show.

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