U.S. January cattle placements rise more than expected

Chicago | Reuters — The number of cattle placed in U.S. feedlots in January increased nine per cent from a year earlier as record-high prices for cattle encouraged feedlots to bring in young calves for fattening, a government report showed on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed January placements at 2.029 million head, up nine per cent from 1.869 million a year earlier. Analysts, on average, expected a 2.5 per cent increase.

USDA put the feedlot cattle supply as of Feb. 1 at 10.76 million head, down three per cent from 11.07 million a year earlier. Analysts polled by Reuters, on average, had expected a drop of 4.1 per cent.

The government said the number of cattle sold to packers, or marketings, in January was down five per cent from a year earlier, to 1.788 million head. That was in line with the analysts’ forecast of a drop of five per cent from 1.892 million last year.

USDA revised last year’s on-feed, placement and marketing figures, analysts said.

Analysts expect deferred Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures to open US0.25 cent to 0.75 cent per pound lower on Monday based on Friday’s USDA report.

— Reporting for Reuters by Theopolis Waters in Chicago.

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