Ag futures are expected to open steady to lower

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Futures trade in the grain markets will resume today at 8:30 CDT. Futures are expected to open steady to lower. Futures posted new contract lows on Thursday ahead of the holiday weekend. Weather forecasts point to benign over the next week. Heavy rain is forecast for N MO and S IA over the next day or so with light rain expected for the next week across most of the Corn Belt. In addition to weather, USDA S/D reports on Friday will be the focus of attention. The crop condition rating for corn this afternoon is expected to edge down 1-2 point in line with the seasonal pattern for ratings, but still quite strong at 73%-74% good-excellent. Deliveries against July futures were only 5 contracts.

The soybean market is expected to remain under pressure. Last week acreage report sent new-crop soy futures tumbling in reaction to the huge soybean acreage result. The August contract fell through its 100-day moving average for the first time since Feb during last week’s trading. China Dalian soybean futures were lower on Monday. However, Malaysia palm oil prices edged higher.

The wheat markets are still expected to be impacted by the last week’s two big reports from USDA. The quarterly Grain Stocks report was somewhat supportive of the golden grain markets, since early-June stocks came up short of forecasts. However, both winter and spring wheat acreage figures topped industry expectations. The CBOT trade will resume at 8:30 am Monday morning.

Cattle futures are expected to open steady to higher. The cash market was strong last week, trading $2 to $4 higher from the previous week to $157 in Kansas and $158 in Texas. The cash market strength led to near limit gains on Thursday in August LC futures with prices posting new contract highs. Slaughter schedules will return to normal this week. Beef prices continue to move higher along with the rest of the complex. Choice beef ended Thursday at $248.12 per cwt, 1 cent below the last week’s high. Select made a new all-time high at $241.12. Market will be monitoring post Holiday beef demand for signs of consumer resistance to record high prices.

Hog futures were still responding to last week’s quarterly Hogs & Pigs report that stated the spring pig crop and hog population numbers well below forecasts. Firm pork prices boosted the hog futures right before the long holiday weekend, with a significant jump in ham price. Rising supplies probably limited the gains.

Cotton futures proved vulnerable during last week’s trading. Thursday’s data from USDA showed that Vietnam had net cancellation of 18,472 bales booked against the 2013/14, which was the largest number of cancellation since February 2012. In addition, the Acreage report stated spring 2014 cotton plantings at 11.369 million acres, which significantly exceeded industry forecasts. The market is expected to be under downward pressure as China Zhengzhou cotton futures closed sharply on Monday.

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