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Livestock, Meat Prices Jump

From Associated Press

Livestock and meat prices were sharply higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as supplies of market-ready cattle continued to dwindle and meatpackers scrambled to build their inventories.

The cattle market had fallen in the previous two sessions, partly in anticipation of weakening beef prices, but wholesale beef markets were generally steady to higher, which contributed to the rally, said Charlie Richardson, a livestock analyst in Denver with Lind-Waldock. He added that supplies of livestock ready for slaughter have been declining because few producers put cattle on feedlots in the late summer period when cattle prices were low.

Coffee prices, propelled by concern about drought-related damage to the Brazilian crop, soared on the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange in New York. Prices had retreated on Tuesday after some rain fell in Brazil, but the rain was insufficient to cause much damage, analysts said.

Grain and soybean futures prices were mixed in sluggish trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices generally were steady, with wheat under some pressure from concern that a rally over the past two weeks was overdone and prices were due for a setback, analysts said.

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