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U.S. cattle supply slid to 10-year low in November

The number of cattle in U.S. feedlots for fattening fell six per cent in November to the smallest in 10 years for the month, a government report said Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture put supply of cattle in feedlots on Dec. 1 at 11.328 million head, or 94 per cent of the year-ago total. Analysts polled by Reuters, on average, expected 93.4 per cent.

The six per cent fall from a year earlier resulted in the smallest on-feed number for the month since December 2002’s 10.946 million.

USDA showed the number of cattle arriving at feedlots last month also down six per cent from November 2011 to 1.923 million head, falling for a sixth straight month. The average analyst estimate was for a 8.8 per cent decline.

USDA also said marketings — the number of cattle sold to packers — in November was down one per cent from a year earlier, to 1.761 million head versus expectations of a 0.2 per cent increase.

Analysts viewed Friday’s cattle report as neutral to mildly bearish for Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle on Monday.

— Theopolis Waters writes for Reuters from Chicago.

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