Consumers Cool on Beef Amid Hot Weather

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cattle futures slid on Monday as hot weather limited appetite for beef and stressed herds.

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Live cattle futures for August delivery fell 0.8% to $1.13825 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while beef prices were also lower on Monday.

Prices across the cattle market have fallen recently on the back of a seasonal tendency to eat less beef in the summer heat, particularly after a bump in grilling demand for July 4.

"The fundamentals are definitely negative," said Steve Wagner of brokerage CHS Hedging in St. Paul, Minn. "We're in the dog days of summer. Demand for beef is waning."

A number of other factors were pressuring the cattle market. A rally in corn futures, as high temperatures threaten this year's crop yield, increased the financial burden on cattle feeders who need the grain to fatten up their herds.

Those same temperatures are also stressing cattle, analysts say, pressuring feeders to get their herds to slaughterhouses more quickly and take a haircut in the process.

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Hog futures were also lower. Summer heat aside, Mr. Wagner said, the slide in beef prices would help it better compete with pork in the near future as Americans revert to their typical meat of choice.

"This is a nation that runs on hamburgers," he said.

CME August lean hog futures fell 1.5% to 82 cents a pound.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 10, 2017 15:21 ET (19:21 GMT)