Ag markets declined in the wake of the Crimean referendum

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Reduced Black Sea tensions seemingly undercut crop markets Sunday night. After trading firmly as Crimean citizens voted in their referendum to join Russia over the weekend, the grain and soy markets turned decidedly lower in early Monday action. Little news was evident, which suggests the reduction of tensions after the vote sparked the unwinding of long hedges established last week. May corn fell 6.5 cents to $4.795/bushel in pre-dawn action, while December lost 5.5 to $4.8175.

The soy complex also declined to start the week. As in the grain markets, there seemed to be little news concerning soybeans over the weekend. Thus, we’re almost forced to assume that reduced Black Sea tensions in the wake of the Crimean referendum result, and Russia’s seeming move backing away from going after Ukraine proper. Asian palm weakness and diminished concerns about sunflower oil probably undercut soyoil. May soybeans dropped 10.25 cents to $13.7825/bushel early Monday morning, while May soyoil slumped 0.21 cents to 42.08 cents/pound, and May soymeal skidded $2.5 at $441.5/ton.

Wheat futures reversed much of Friday’s surge. The wheat markets finished last week strongly, which probably reflected industry concerns about the Black Sea situation and potential problems with exports from that region. The apparent reduction of tensions seen Sunday night apparently caused numerous traders to exit those positions overnight. May CBOT wheat futures tumbled 8.25 cents to $6.79/bushel in early Monday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures slid 3.5 cents to $7.48 and May MWE futures sank 4.75 to $7.2925.

Rising cash quotes boosted the cattle market at Friday’s close. Cattle futures sagged as last week passed, due largely to lost upward momentum in wholesale beef prices; that suggested reduced chances for cash market firmness. However, beef packers reportedly started paying steady money for country cattle Friday morning, then boosted those bids $1-$2/cwt as the day passed. That rather obviously spurred buying in Chicago. April cattle futures surged 1.62 cents to 145.25 cents/pound as the week’s trading ended Friday, while August climbed 0.70 cents to 135.47. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle advanced 1.30 cents to 177.22 cents/pound, and August rallied 1.05 to 179.40.

Hog futures turned mixed Friday. Spiking cash and wholesale gains sent hog futures soaring again last week. However, those markets seemed to lose upward momentum Thursday, although Friday afternoon reports proved quite strong. That seemingly bodes well for this week’s trading once again. April hogs closed 0.37 cents higher at 119.30 cents/pound Friday, while June inched up 0.05 to 126.85.

Cotton futures started the week on a mixed note. The cotton market ended last week rather mixed, with traders seeming unwilling to test recent highs before the weekend. They began this week in similar fashion, with the nearby May contract sliding in concert with the grain/soy markets and new crop December inching higher. Still, big gains in equity index future last night suggest fiber strength later in the day. May cotton stumbled 0.31 cents to 91.88 cents/pound just after sunrise Monday, while December cotton edged up 0.02 to 79.86.

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