Cattle Futures Extend Rally to Record on Tighter Supplies

Cattle futures extended a rally to an all-time high for the third straight session on the outlook for tightening supplies of beef and rising demand.

U.S. beef production in 2014 may slump to 24.205 billion pounds (10.98 million metric tons), the lowest since 1993, the Department of Agriculture has projected. Live steers averaged 1,395 pounds last week, down 2.4 percent from a week earlier, government data show. Wholesale-beef prices rose 1.4 percent yesterday, the biggest jump since Oct. 17, USDA data show.

“The number one reason that we’re extending the rally on the cattle market is our cattle supplies are going to be down,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “And the steer weights and heifer weights have been down.”

Cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1.35225 a pound at 12:36 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching $1.356, the highest ever for a most-active contract. Prices touched records yesterday and on Dec. 27.

Futures are on pace for a fifth straight annual gain, the longest winning streak since Chicago trading began in 1964.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement declined 0.1 percent to $1.677 a pound. Hog futures for February settlement climbed 0.8 percent to 85.625 cents a pound in Chicago. Prices slumped 0.9 percent this year through yesterday, heading for the first annual decline since 2007.

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