Ag markets diverged again Monday

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Corn futures proved able sustain their Friday advance again on Monday. CBOT corn prices struggled through much of Monday’s trading, but ended the day slightly higher. Last week’s USDA data was bullish, so it wasn’t terribly surprising to see the CBOT market overcome the disappointing result indicated on the midmorning Export Inspections report. March corn futures closed up 1.75 cents to $4.345/bushel Monday afternoon, while May added 1.75 to $4.425/bushel.

Soybeans rebounded from early-Monday lows. Soybeans and products traded weakly in early Monday action, but beans and meal turned upward in reaction to supportive export news. The USDA announced that exporters had sold 140,000 tonnes of beans to ‘unknown destinations’ early this morning; that news was followed by a strong result on the weekly Export Inspections report. In contrast, the Asian palm market weighed on oil values. March soybeans jumped 15.75 cents to $12.9425/bushel in late Monday trading, while March soyoil fell 0.39 cents to 37.84 cents/pound, and March soymeal leapt $8.3 to $421.9/ton.

The wheat markets posted a mixed Monday performance. Wheat futures reacted badly to last Friday’s data indicating the December stocks total and the 2013/14 carryout figure had topped expectations. Export news boosted prices, but Chicago traders also appeared to react belatedly to the low winter wheat seedings figure published last Friday. March CBOT wheat futures climbed 4.5 cents to $5.735/bushel at their Monday settlement, but March KCBT wheat futures tumbled 6.25 cents to $6.1975, and March MWE futures skidded 2.75 to $6.1775.

Technical resistance seemed to cap the cattle market. The cash cattle and wholesale beef markets have surged to record highs lately, which seemingly bodes well for this week’s CME cattle outlook. However, nearby futures have repeatedly failed to break out to fresh highs, thereby appearing to prompt active selling. February cattle futures settled 0.10 cents lower at 136.60 cents/pound Monday afternoon, while April futures inched up 0.10 to 137.07. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures dove 1.17 cents to 166.47 cents/pound, and May sank 0.75 to 168.15.

Hog futures also proved surprisingly weak Monday morning. Ideas that the hog market is set for a technical and seasonal rally have been encouraged by concurrent cattle and beef strength. However, the midday cash and wholesale reports indicated significant losses, which very likely exaggerated early pressure. February hogs tumbled 0.45 cents to 85.37 cents/pound Monday, while June dropped 0.20 to 100.70.

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