Tight supplies drop U.S. April cattle placements

Chicago | Reuters — The number of cattle placed in U.S. feedlots last month fell five per cent from a year ago after prolonged drought in parts of the U.S. hurt crops, which led to fewer cattle for feedyards to draw from for fattening, a government report showed Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed April placements at 1.636 million head, down five per cent from 1.72 million a year earlier. Analysts, on average, had expected a 4.4 per cent decrease.

USDA put the feedlot cattle supply as of May 1 at 10.648 million head, down one per cent from 10.76 million a year earlier. Analysts polled by Reuters, on average, forecasted a decline of 0.9 per cent.

The government said the number of cattle sold to packers, or marketings, was down two per cent in April from a year earlier, to 1.778 million head. Analysts projected a drop of 2.4 per cent from 1.815 million last year.

Analysts expect Friday’s report to have a generally neutral impact on Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures on Monday.

— Reporting for Reuters by Theopolis Waters in Chicago.

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