Crop markets are starting the week in mixed fashion

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Corn futures resumed their decline Sunday night. The USDA forecast 2014 corn acreage at 79.5 million acres last week and predicted a large 2014 crop and large ending stocks next year. That news apparently depressed prices last Friday and appeared to do so again last night. March corn slid 3.75 cents to $4.4925/bushel early Monday morning, while May lost 3.5 to $4.555.

Last Friday’s Oil World news seemingly offered sustained soybean support. Although current forecasts seem favorable for South American grain and soy crops, traders seemed to give those predictions short-shrift overnight. They may be paying more attention to last Friday’s Oil World estimate of Brazil’s forthcoming bean crop at just 85 million tonnes, whereas the latest USDA figure came in at 90 mmt. March soybeans jumped 11.5 cents to $13.8225/bushel in Sunday night action, while March soyoil slipped 0.05 cents to 40.90 cents/pound, and March soymeal advanced $6.5 to $462.3/ton.

The wheat markets seem to be suffering a technical setback. Last week’s USDA long-term forecast and weekly Export Sales data weighed rather heavily upon the wheat markets. Moreover, the resulting decline appeared to end recent rallies in those markets. That’s probably one big reason for this week’s early weakness, with profit-taking and short-selling seemingly causing a technical setback. March CBOT wheat futures dropped 3.5 cents to $6.0625/bushel around dawn Monday, while March KCBT wheat futures fell 5.25 cents to $6.775, and March MWE futures sank 3.5 to $6.6075.

Cattle futures proved surprisingly weak last Friday. Wholesale strength and firm opening bids by beef packers boosted CME cattle prices early last week. However, Chicago prices turned decidedly lower Friday morning. One wonders if bullish traders were looking for cash gains even larger than the $2-$3/cwt advance posted in late morning and early afternoon. Friday’s Cattle on Feed report seemingly boded rather ill for deferred futures today. April cattle futures fell 0.42 cents to 141.45 cents/pound at their Friday settlement, while August dropped 0.40 to 131.30. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle slumped 0.42 cents to 170.70 cents/pound, and May lost 0.37 to 172.22.

Big cash and wholesale gains boosted nearby hog futures last week. Bullish hog traders have been anticipating strong increases in hog and pork prices for weeks and finally got those late last week. Cash values, as well as pork cutout, jumped Thursday, thereby causing traders to look for more of the same. April hogs leapt 1.52 cents to 99.35 cents/pound as trading wound down Friday, while June added 0.25 at 108.02.

Tight domestic supplies may be spurring cotton gains. Last week’s long-term USDA data seemed rather bearish, while the weekly Export Sales numbers looked decidedly bearish. Nevertheless, cotton futures closed firmly and are starting this week the same way. Limited deliverable supplies are apparently boosting the expiring March contract, whereas the tight domestic situation is supporting deferred futures. May cotton edged up 0.09 cents to 88.44 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Monday, while December cotton moved up 0.10 cents to 78.24.

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