Ag markets closed mostly lower Tuesday

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Corn futures turned lower Tuesday afternoon. Forecasts for hot South American weather and news of a sizeable U.S. soybean sale to China apparently caused corn prices to follow soybeans higher this morning. Conversely, the subsequent bean reversal and talk of large global supplies also pushed yellow grain prices downward. March corn futures declined 1.75 cents to

Soybeans couldn’t sustain early gains. The soy complex reversed overnight losses after the USDA announced the sale of 350,000 tonnes of beans to China; beans and meal posted sizeable mid-morning gains. However, bulls couldn’t sustain the move, with wire service sources citing large global supplies for the late-session sell-off. The oil market remained relatively weak. March soybeans slipped 0.75 cent to $12.76/bushel Tuesday afternoon, while March soyoil dropped 0.19 cents to 37.93 cents/pound, whereas March soymeal lifted $2.0 to $415.8/ton.

The wheat markets also set back from early highs. Monday night slippage suggested that worries about frost damage to U.S. wheat fields had diminished. Thus, the subsequent soy-driven looked quite impressive, but proved largely unsustainable. Traders are apparently unwilling to stick with long positions ahead of Friday’s widely anticipated USDA reports. March CBOT wheat futures settled 3.25 cents lower at $6.025/bushel in Tuesday afternoon action, while March KCBT wheat futures edged up 1.25 cents to $6.4525, and March MWE futures inched 0.25 higher to $6.3075.

Cattle traders seemed to take profits Tuesday. Surging cash and wholesale prices have boosted cattle futures sharply since they broke out to the upside on December 27. Thus, it was somewhat surprising to see prices set back from overnight highs this morning. Still, given the size of the advance posted in the interim, a wave of profit-taking wasn’t entirely unexpected either. February cattle futures slid 0.30 cents to 136.52 cents/pound at their Tuesday settlement, while April futures dropped 0.57 to 136.35. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures slumped 0.27 cents to 167.82 cents/pound, and May sank 0.35 to 169.37.

Hog traders apparently exited premium CME futures. Although a sizeable seasonal rise in cash prices is widely expected, hog traders seemed to abandon bullish positions Tuesday. The cash and wholesale markets have very likely disappointed bulls lately, with the resulting quotes for the CME cash index apparently making nearby futures look overpriced. February hogs dove 1.10 cents to 85.52 cents/pound late Tuesday afternoon, while June tumbled 0.57 to 100.62.

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