Cattle Rise as Buyers Purchase Beef for U.S. Holidays; Hogs Gain

Cattle rose for the second time in three sessions on speculation that demand for beef will rise before the U.S. Memorial Day holiday on May 27 and Father’s Day on June 16, traditionally popular times to grill steaks.

Wholesale beef surged to a record $2.0549 a pound on May 9, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 631,000 cattle were slaughtered last week, up 1.1 percent from the prior week. Money managers increased their net-long positions, or bets prices will rise, by 41 percent in the week through May 7, the most in a month, government data show.

“It is still thought that there is a certain amount of beef business that needs to be done for Memorial Day and Father’s Day,” Troy Vetterkind, the owner of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage LLC in Thorp, Wisconsin, said in an e-mailed report.

Cattle futures for June delivery climbed 0.1 percent to settle at $1.20575 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The most-active contract is down 8.9 percent this year, partly on speculation that demand for beef will decline.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement fell 0.3 percent to $1.462 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement rose 0.5 percent to settle at 90.925 cents a pound in Chicago. The price has gained 6.1 percent this year, partly on speculation that consumers will buy more pork because of the rising beef costs.

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