Power Hour: Cattle Climb as Second Storm May Disrupt Supplies

02:30PM Feb 25, 2013
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Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Cattle futures climbed on concern that a second snowstorm in the U.S. Great Plains will disrupt movement of animals and beef supplies. Hogs also rose.

Blizzard warnings stretched from eastern New Mexico through the Texas Panhandle into Oklahoma and Kansas, according to the National Weather Service. Winter-storm warnings and advisories reach across Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois into Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Parts of the Midwest received more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow last week. Wholesale-beef prices gained 0.5 percent last week, the most this year.

"You had improving cash trade on Friday," Mark Schultz, the chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. "Hopefully, that spills into a little more because of the winter storm coming in. You’ve got a lot of high winds and blizzard conditions" that disrupt supplies, which "backs them up a little bit," he said.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $1.28425 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 2.9 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement slid 0.3 percent to close at $1.408 a pound.

U.S. feedlots sold 5.6 percent more cattle to slaughterhouses in January than a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said after the close of regular trading on Feb. 22. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a 4.6 percent increase. The report was "encouraging" for the market, Schultz said.

Pork inventories rose 3.4 percent at the end of January from a year earlier, the USDA said in a separate report after the close of regular trading on Feb. 22. The cold-storage data was "a little negative," Schultz said.

Hog futures for April settlement increased 0.3 percent to close at 81.9 cents a pound. The gain halted an eight-session losing streak, the longest decline since Oct. 6, 2008.


--With assistance from Brian K. Sullivan in Boston. Editors: Millie Munshi, Steve Stroth


To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago at [email protected]