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COMMODITIES : Cattle Futures Rise After Drop in Feedlot Numbers

June 17, 1989|From Associated Press

Live cattle futures prices posted modest gains Friday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and experts predicted a surge next week after a government report showed an unexpectedly sharp drop in May placements of cattle on feedlots.

On other markets, energy prices tumbled, grains and soybeans were mixed and precious metals retreated.

Live cattle settled .13 cent to .30 cent higher with the contract for delivery in June at 71.70 cents a pound; feeder cattle were unchanged to .18 cent lower with August at 80.97 cents a pound; live hogs were .05 cent to .60 cent higher with June at 48.22 cents a pound; frozen pork bellies were .38 cent lower to 1.15 cents higher with July at 33.92 cents a pound.

Cattle futures prices had been rising ahead of the Agriculture Department's monthly cattle-on-feed report.

Expectations were that it would show about a 15% decline in the number of cattle placed on feedlots last month in the seven largest producer states, compared with the record-high placements of May, 1988.

But the USDA indicated an even sharper drop in May placements, reporting 25% fewer cattle were moved from pastures to feedlots last month than in the same period a year ago.

The seven-state total of 1.6 million cattle was 11% below the 10-year average and represented the lightest May placements since 1981. The placements brought the total number of cattle on feed in the seven states to 7.5 million, 3% below a year ago.

Petroleum futures prices plummeted on the New York Mercantile Exchange on signs of easing supplies of crude oil for prompt delivery and reports that the OPEC cartel may raise its production ceiling by 1 million barrels per day in September.

West Texas intermediate crude oil settled 1 cent to 62 cents lower with July at $19.95 a barrel; heating oil was .21 cent to .63 lower with July at 45.71 cents a gallon; unleaded gasoline was 1.34 cents lower to .10 cent higher with July at 58.14 cents a gallon.

Most corn and soybean futures posted strong gains on the Chicago Board of Trade, boosted by forecasts for a warm-up in the Midwest next week. Wheat futures closed mixed.

Gold and silver futures prices fell modesty after rising for four straight days on New York's Commodity Exchange.

Gold settled $1.90 to $2 lower with August at $368.80 a troy ounce; silver was 0.6 cent to 2.5 cents lower with July at $5.305 a troy ounce.

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