Cattle Prices Slide on Signs of Slowing Beef Demand; Hogs Drop

Cattle futures fell as a slump in U.S. beef prices from a record high last month signaled slowing demand. Hogs also declined.

U.S. meatpackers processed 594,000 head of cattle last week, down 0.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Today’s slaughter was 1.6 percent lower than a year earlier, USDA data show. Wholesale beef dropped 1.1 percent last week to $2.0665, the biggest weekly slump since March, government data show. Prices rallied as much as 8.9 percent this year to $2.1137 on May 23, the highest on record going back to at least January 2004.

“Beef markets began to run out of steam last week as buyers balked at sharply higher asking levels from packers,” Troy Vetterkind, the owner of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage LLC in Thorp, Wisconsin, said in an e-mailed report. “We could likely see some early week fill-in business, but once that gets done, I would look for beef prices to move lower.”

Cattle futures for August delivery fell 0.8 percent to settle at $1.19475 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price lost 1.2 percent in May, the fourth straight monthly decline for the most-active contract.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement rose 0.1 percent to $1.44425 a pound.

Hog futures for July settlement declined 0.3 percent to 93.55 cents a pound.

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