Cattle Gain on Outlook for Climbing Beef Demand; Hogs Rebound

Cattle futures rose the most in a week on speculation that demand for U.S. beef is increasing. Hog prices also climbed.

Temperatures across parts of the U.S. are expected to rise in April, the first full month of the Northern Hemisphere spring. Consumers tend to grill outdoors when the weather warms, boosting meat purchases. U.S. exporters shipped 368.68 million pounds of beef (167,228 metric tons) in the two months through Feb. 28, up 1.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, Department of Agriculture data showed today.

“There could be a little optimism” that demand will improve, Dick Quiter, an account executive at McFarland Commodities LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We’re finally getting some warmer weather, and if exports were a shade better than what people thought,” that may be supporting prices, he said.

Cattle futures for June delivery climbed 0.4 percent to settle at $1.22025 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest increase for the most-active contract since March 28.

Spot steers averaged $1.2829 a pound in the first five days of last week, up 5.2 percent from a year earlier, USDA data show.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement gained 0.3 percent to $1.4475 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement rose 0.9 percent to close at 90.55 cents a pound. Prices on April 5 fell as much as 3 percent to 89.275 cents, a two-week low.

The previous session’s decline was “probably overdone,” said Christian Mayer, a market adviser at Northstar Commodity Investments Co. in Minneapolis.

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