Cattle Fall to Three-Week Low on Slowing Beef Demand; Hogs Rise

Cattle future touched a three-week low on signs that demand for U.S. beef is falling as more animals are being brought to slaughter. Hogs advanced.

Beef exports for the week ended July 25 fell 23 percent to 11,402 metric tons (25.14 million pounds) from a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Wholesale-beef prices dropped to a five-month low on July 31, according to the USDA. Meatpackers processed 492,000 cattle in the first four days of this week, up 1.2 percent from the same period a week earlier, government figures show.

“There’s just more heads coming to market than were expected, and beef demand is falling off,” Paul Beere, a grain and livestock adviser at Prime Agricultural Consultants in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “There’s not another holiday to stimulate prices” until Labor Day on Sept. 2, he said.

Cattle futures for October delivery fell less than 0.1 percent to settle at $1.24475 a pound at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after touching $1.241, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 9.

Earlier, cattle futures rose as much as 0.6 percent, before erasing gains, on signs that milder weather across the U.S. Midwest might revive beef buying after last month’s heat wave proved too hot for some consumers to grill outdoors.

Feeder-cattle futures for September settlement slumped 0.2 percent to close at $1.57 a pound.

Hog futures for October settlement advanced 0.1 percent to 83.95 cents a pound on the CME. The commodity has declined 2.1 percent this year.

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