Cattle Fall as Feedlot Placements Unexpectedly Rise; Hogs Drop

Cattle futures fell on signs of increasing supplies of animals in the U.S. Hog prices also dropped.

About 1.899 million cattle were placed in feedlots last month, up 6 percent from 1.792 million in March 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said April 19. That compares to the 1.5 percent decline projected by 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The placement figure was “pretty negative,” said Lane Broadbent, a vice president at KIS Futures Inc. in Oklahoma City.

“The thing that’s probably the most disappointing is there was so much optimism built in this market that we have such tight numbers,” Broadbent said in a telephone interview. “The demand is not there to make this thing be a lot better.”

Cattle futures for June delivery declined 0.4 percent to settle at $1.20825 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, marking the third straight drop, the longest slide since March 15.

Feedlot operators typically buy year-old animals that weigh 500 pounds (227 kilograms) to 800 pounds, called feeders. The cattle are fattened on corn for four to five months until they weigh about 1,300 pounds, when they are sold to meatpackers.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement slumped 0.1 percent to $1.45975 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement slipped 0.8 percent to close at 89.45 cents a pound on the CME. The commodity is up 4.3 percent in 2013.

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