Cattle Rise as Beef Profit Spurs Meat-Plant Buying; Hogs Decline

Cattle futures rose for the fourth session on signs that rising demand for U.S. beef is boosting profit margins for meat processors. Hog prices declined.

Wholesale-beef prices are up 9.6 percent since the end of July and are the highest since June 5, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. exports of the meat rose 3.3 percent to 1.69 billion pounds (767,777 metric tons) in the eight months through Aug. 31, compared with the same period a year earlier, government data show.

“It is a lot easier for packers to pay for cattle” with profit rising on beef sales, Dan Vaught, an economist at Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview. “Export demand is remaining pretty strong.”

Cattle futures for December delivery advanced 0.4 percent to close at $1.34275 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices capped the longest rally since Sept. 27, after touching a nine-month high of $1.347 on Oct. 25. Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement fell less than 0.1 percent to $1.669 a pound.

Hog futures for December settlement declined 0.7 percent to 91.35 cents a pound on the CME. Yesterday, the price touched 92.1 cents, the highest for the contract since it began trading in June 2012.

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