U.S. cattle placements fall seventh straight month

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Reuters / The number of cattle placed in U.S. feedlots in December fell for a seventh straight month, a government report showed Jan. 25, in a sign of high feed costs continuing to roil the industry after the worst drought in half a century.

The decline was against trade expectations for the first monthly increase in placements since May.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture showed placements down one per cent from a year earlier to 1.664 million head, extending its string of monthly declines since May. The average analyst estimate was for a 3.8 per cent increase.

USDA put supply of cattle in feedlots on Jan. 1 at 11.193 million head, or 94 per cent of the year-ago total. Analysts polled by Reuters, on average, expected 95.5 per cent.

The government also said the number of cattle sold to packers, or marketings, in December was down two per cent from a year earlier, to 1.745 million head versus forecast for a 6.9 per cent reduction. Analysts viewed the cattle report as bullish for Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures.

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