Cattle futures climbed to a 22-month high last week in Chicago as rising beef prices in the U.S. signaled increasing demand and declining animal weights limited supply.

Wholesale choice beef climbed to $1.58/lb. last week, the highest level since June 8, USDA data show. Steer carcasses at slaughter last week weighed 867 lbs., on average, down 2.5% from a year earlier, according to the USDA. Lighter cattle yield less beef.

“Demand has been better than people had anticipated,” said David Kruse, the president of CommStock Investments Inc. in Royal, Iowa. “Profits have been extraordinary” for meat processors, he said.

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