Crop markets look set to start the week on a strong note

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Corn futures bounced slightly from the drop suffered last Friday in Sunday night trading. Recent improvements in Corn Belt crops were exaggerated by favorable weather forecasts through mid-July, with the underlying implication of massive U.S. crops later in the year rather obviously weighing upon prices. Technicians are probably anticipating a follow-through slide similar in size to that suffered on June 28 as well. September corn futures rose 2.75 cents to $5.285/bushel in early Monday trading, while December added 3.5 cents to $4.9475.

The soy complex was mixed in Monday morning electronic trading. The nearby soybean contracts were mixed, while deferred futures rose significantly; the latter development was rather surprising given the production prospects for the 2013 U.S. crop. Meanwhile, weak Asian palm oil prices weighed upon the soyoil market, whereas old crop tightness once again seemed to support soymeal futures. August soybean futures inched up 0.25 cents to $14.325/bushel, while August soybean oil slid 0.23 cents to 46.91 cents/pound and August soymeal gained $3.2 to $431.8/ton.

Wheat futures were also mixed in early Monday trading. Actually, it was rather surprising to see signs of weakness, since considerable supportive news emerged over the weekend. For example, Japanese officials reportedly hope to restart their purchases of U.S. white wheat in August, and Russian analysts cut their forecasts for the forthcoming harvest due to drought. China also bought 120,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat and 300,000 tonnes of new crop Australian wheat lately. Ultimately, improving prospects for the domestic spring wheat crop may be weighing upon the Minneapolis market. September CBOT wheat rallied 1.25 cents to $6.6125/bushel early Monday morning, and September KCBT wheat climbed 2.5 cents to $6.8825, while September MGE futures skidded 0.25 cent to $7.6325.

Cattle futures ended last week on a steady note. The late-week gains were rather impressive when viewed within the context of Wednesday cash market weakness and the drop suffered by wholesale prices Friday afternoon. Anticipation of firm trading Friday afternoon and hopes that the traditional mid-year decline has run its course are probably supporting CME prices. August cattle closed unchanged at 121.95 cents/pound Friday afternoon, while December lost 0.15 cents to 128.10. Feeder futures climbed in response to corn market losses; the August contract surged 0.85 cents to 151.80 cents/pound, and November climbed 0.65 cents to 155.77.

Morning pork gains apparently boosted nearby hog futures Friday. The most-active August contract posted sizeable gains in response to a midsession report of strong wholesale gains, as well as to its discount to the CME lean hog index. Concerns about the second-half outlook seemed to keep a lid on deferred futures. Indeed, it would not be terribly surprising to see swine futures turn lower after the Friday afternoon pork report indicated a modest loss to end the week. August hog futures gained 0.90 cents to 97.75 cents/pound at its Friday settlement, while the December contract dropped 0.10 to 82.05.

Financial markets and weather news are apparently driving the cotton market. For example, the big stock market gain posted last Friday was at least partially offset by the concurrent jump by the U.S. dollar. Rising equity index futures are apparently boosting the white fiber market early this week, with modest greenback slippage opening the door for further gains. However, bulls may have a hard time sustaining gains if the weather over Texas cotton fields proves as favorable over that predicted for the Corn Belt. October cotton edged up 0.11 cents to 86.54 cents/pound as the sun rose over New York Monday morning, while December advanced 0.22 cents to 85.25.

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