Ag market diverged significantly Monday

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Corn remained weak Monday. Worries about persistent Chinese rejections of U.S. corn shipments contaminated with an unapproved GMO strain apparently carried over from last week, thereby depressing CBOT prices to start the week. The weak result on the USDA Export Inspections report didn’t help. March corn futures dropped 2.25 cents to $4.2325/bushel in late Monday trading, while May lost 2.0 cents to 4.3175.

Soybeans turned upward around midmorning. After trading shakily Sunday night, soybean futures turned upward just before the CBOT pit session commenced this morning. Wire service reports cited bargaining hunting by bulls. The weekly Export Inspections also proved quite supportive, as did the monthly NOPA crush report. January soybeans surged 10.25 cents to $13.3775/bushel at their Monday settlement, while January soyoil sank 0.08 cents to 39.75 cents/pound, and January soymeal climbed $6.4 to $439.0/ton.

The export inspections data didn’t help the wheat markets. Wheat futures also began the week rather poorly, due in part to concurrent corn and bean losses. Talk of expansionary Russian production targets may also have depressed prices. The situation wasn’t helped by the weekly USDA Export Inspections report, which was stated last week’s total near the middle of the relatively weak forecast range. March CBOT wheat futures tumbled 7.0 cents to $6.2175/bushel as Monday trading ended, while March KCBT wheat futures declined 7.0 cents to $6.655, and March MWE futures dipped 6.25 cents to $6.5425.

Improving winter prospects seemingly boosted cattle futures Monday. Country cattle prices dropped about $1/cwt (cent/pound) last Friday, due in part to big wholesale losses posted late last week. However, cutouts rebounded at midday, thereby encouraging fresh buying. Wintry weather, limited feedlot supplies and seasonally declining marketings still seem likely to dominate events during the days and weeks ahead. February cattle futures bounced 0.65 cents to 133.50 cents/pound by late Monday afternoon, and April futures ran up 0.55 to 134.35. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle futures leapt 1.32 to 168.40 cents/pound and March rallied 0.82 cents to 167.37.

Hog futures remained weak to star this week. Bulls have recently anticipated a strong seasonal advance into mid-winter, but the latest news has undercut those hopes. Cutout values jumped at midday, but the rise will almost surely prove quite temporary. The potential for a significant year-to-year increase in hog slaughter may also have depressed prices. February hog futures closed 0.55 cents lower at 86.62 cents/pound Monday, while June fell 0.50 to 99.00.

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