April 19, 2013 / 7:31 PM / 5 years ago

US cattle placements unexpectedly rise in March after Feb delays

* April 1 feedlot cattle supply falls 5 pct year-over-year
    * March placements up 6 pct year-over-year, above forecasts
    * Marketings drop 8 pct from yr ago, below estimate
    * Report viewed bearish for cattle futures on Monday

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, April 19 (Reuters) - The number of cattle placed in
U.S. feedlots last month rose unexpectedly, a government report
showed on Friday, after many cattle that were delayed by harsh
winter weather in February arrived in feedyards in March.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture showed March placements
up 6 percent from a year earlier to 1.899 million head. The
average analyst estimate was for a 1.5 percent decline.
    USDA put supply of cattle in feedlots on April 1 at 10.909
million head, or 95 percent of the year-ago total. Analysts
polled by Reuters, on average, expected 94 percent. 
    The government said the number of cattle sold to packers, or
marketings, in March was down 8 percent from a year earlier, to
1.771 million head versus forecast for a 6.4 percent decrease.
    Analysts said the larger-than-expected placements and lower
marketing results could pressure live cattle contracts at the
Chicago Mercantile Exchange when the market reopens on Monday

 (Additional reporting by Michael Hirtzer; editing by Jim
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