Cattle Futures Climb on Tightening U.S. Beef Supplies; Hogs Gain

Cattle rose for the third time in four sessions on signs of shrinking U.S. supply of animals available to beef processors and the outlook for increased demand. Hogs also climbed.

About 1.482 million young cattle were placed into feedlots last month, 14 percent less than a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a March 22 report after the close of trading. The February placements were the lowest for that month since the government began tracking the data in 1996. The report is supporting prices, said Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co.

“You’ve got better odds for demand for beef getting better here in the next couple weeks” as the weather gets warmer and more consumers are likely to grill outdoors, Schultz said in a telephone interview from Minneapolis. “The shortened kill week maybe tightens up the supply.”

Cattle futures for June delivery climbed 0.2 percent to settle at $1.21475 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 8.2 percent this year.

About 106,000 cattle were processed today, down 11 percent from a week earlier, USDA data show. Some meatpacking plants will be closed on March 29 in observance of the Good Friday holiday, Schultz said.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement added 0.2 percent to close at $1.40525 a pound in Chicago.

Hog futures for June settlement increased 1.2 percent to close at 90.775 cents a pound on the CME. The price is up 5.9 percent this year.

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