Ag markets closed 2013 on a mixed note

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South American rainfall continued weighing on corn prices Tuesday. Grain/soy trading at the CBOT will resume at 8:30 am (CST) this morning after the New Year’s holiday. Corn ended 2013 on a weak note, due largely to reports of ample rainfall over Argentine fields. That talk of increased South American production and concerns about concerns over Chinese rejections of U.S. corn and distillers grains weighed upon prices. Both March and May corn futures dipped 1.5 cents Tuesday, closing at $4.22 and $4.3025/bushel, respectively.

Soybeans also reacted poorly to the South American news. The good Argentine rainfall last weekend also depressed the soy complex, especially after local sources boosted their forecasts for the forthcoming Argentine crop. Soymeal suffered quite badly, whereas talk of improved export prospects boosted the oil market. March soybeans dove 16.25 cents to $12.925/bushel late Tuesday afternoon, March soyoil gained 0.17 cents to 39.13 cents/pound, and March soymeal tumbled $10.1 to $417.0/ton.

Short covering seemingly boosted wheat markets on the last day of the year. Although some traders may have been buying in response to talk of frigid temperatures and winter kill over U.S. fields this weekend, wire service sources more commonly cited last minute short-covering for the late bounce. Nearby futures were oversold at 19-month lows earlier. March CBOT wheat futures rebounded 4.75 cents to $6.0525/bushel at their Tuesday settlement, while March KCBT wheat futures rallied 4.75 cents to $6.405, and March MWE futures advanced 5.0 to $6.3525.

Cattle futures ended 2013 on a weak note. Look for CME livestock trading to resume at 9:05 am (CST) this morning. After rallying strongly late last week and proving firm again on Monday, live cattle futures suffered a setback Tuesday. Year-end position squaring and technical considerations seemingly played substantial roles in the drop. Talk of packer cutbacks also depressed prices. February cattle futures fell 0.47 cents to 134.62 cents/pound in late Tuesday trading, while April futures sank 0.45 to 135.30. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures dropped 0.55 cents to 167.40 cents/pound, and May sagged 0.50 to 168.67.

Cash and wholesale strength seemed to support hogs at Tuesday’s close. After suffering a stunning reversal from post-Hogs-&-Pigs-report highs Monday, hog futures staged a modest comeback Tuesday. Cash and wholesale firmness probably boosted the market, especially since the industry is looking for an early winter rally into mid-February. February ran up 0.45 cents to 85.42 cents/pound in Tuesday trading, and June added 0.17 to 100.15.

Cotton futures ended 2013 little changed. Although Chinese officials announced last week that they are ending their massive cotton stockpiling program, the concurrent news that they are lowering duties on imported fiber sparked a strong close to 2013 trading. Prices seemingly stalled on New Year’s Eve, with fund managers likely balancing positions for year-end reports. March cotton settled 0.02 cents lower at 84.64 cents/pound Tuesday afternoon, while July cotton edged up 0.06 cents to 83.98.


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