Cattle futures for April delivery climbed 0.9 percent to close at $1.264 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After the settlement, the price reached $1.2645 in electronic trading, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity began trading on the CME in 1964.
In the U.S., consumers will pay as much as 5 percent more for beef this year, more than other food group except seafood, after the meat rose as much as 10 percent last year, the government has estimated. The cattle herd was the smallest since at least 1973 as of July 1 after a drought in Texas cut supplies. Beef exports surged 25 percent in the 10 months ended Oct. 31 from a year earlier.
Rising global demand and the shrinking herd in the U.S., the world’s largest beef producer, spurred a 12 percent increase in cattle futures last year, the fifth-biggest gain among components in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials. Retail beef reached an all-time high in November, signaling higher costs for Oklahoma City-based Sonic and Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. (RUTH), a steakhouse owner.