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US select-grade beef price hits record as storms slow shipments

CHICAGO (Reuters) — Prices for select-grade U.S. wholesale beef hit a record-high on Wednesday for the fourth straight day, as shipments slowed after a historic winter storm in the United States prompted a surge in live cattle prices, analysts said.

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Higher-quality “choice” beef prices also climbed, rising to the loftiest levels since hitting an all-time high in May, U.S. Agriculture Department data showed.

“Supplies are tight and demand is relatively strong,” said Dan Vaught, economist with Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis.

Heavy snowfall and the coldest temperatures on record in some parts of the U.S. this week slowed the transportation of cattle to slaughter houses and shipments of beef to retailers. USDA pegged the select cutout at $207.07 per cwt, up $3.51 from Tuesday. The value was more than $10 above the previous record set in March of last year.