December 11, 2008


Foreseen '09 lower beef supplies jack up US cattle prices


US cattle prices rose in two weeks on signs that the shrinking US herd may limit beef supplies next year while hog prices declined.


Slaughterhouses processed an estimated 355,000 cattle in the first three days this week, down 6.3 percent from a year earlier, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data show. Feedlot operators bought fewer animals in seven of the first 10 months of this year as high corn costs eroded profit margins, according to government figures.


Cattle futures for February delivery rose 1.525 cents, or 1.9 percent, to 83.8 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the biggest gain since November 24. The price has dropped 13 percent this year as the slumping global economy raised concerns that beef demand will decline.


Feeder-cattle futures for January delivery rose by 0.8 cents, or 0.9 percent, to 87.35 cents a pound.


The US feedlot herd fell 6.8 percent in October from a year earlier, the USDA said on November 21. The agency will release its next feedlot report on December 19.


Wholesale beef prices rose 0.37 cent, or 0.3 percent, to US$1.4508 a pound at midday, according to USDA data. Still, the price has decreased by 1.4 percent compared to last year.


Hog futures for February settlement fell 1 cent, or 1.6 percent, to 63.125 cents a pound. The price still increased by 9.1 percent this year. Wholesale pork prices fell 0.29 cent, or 0.5 percent, to 60.79 cents a pound yesterday. The price is up 4.8 percent this year.

Frozen pork-belly futures sank for a ninth straight session on signs of increasing supplies of the meat used for bacon.


Futures for February delivery tumbled the most at the CME, dropping 3 cents, or 3.4 percent, to 84.5 cents a pound. The most-active contract dropped by as much as the exchange limit in the previous three sessions.


Pork-belly inventories in warehouses approved by the CME rose 13 percent to 23.8 million pounds in the week ended December 5 from the previous week. Stockpiles have climbed for seven straight weeks and are down 2.8 percent from last year.

Video >

Follow Us