Ag markets diverged rather sharply Monday

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The Export Inspections Report likely boosted corn Monday. Nearby corn futures ended last week resting on support at their 20-day moving average, but posted a seeming technical bounce Sunday night. They built on those gains as the morning passed, with the supportive result on the Export Inspections report apparently powering the follow-through. May corn surged 11.0 cents to $4.90/bushel at Monday’s close, while December added 7.75 to $4.8775.

The soy complex traded strongly despite the export data. Talk of slow Chinese demand reportedly weighed upon soybean futures in Sunday night trading, but prices rebounded as the Chicago trading day began. Again, technical buying seemed to power the bounce. Prices continued rising moderately despite a less than supportive result on the weekly Export Inspections report. This suggests underlying strength. May soybeans climbed 16.75 cents to $14.255/bushel in late Monday action, while May soyoil slipped 0.18 cents to 40.84 cents/pound, and May soymeal rose $6.1 to $462.0/ton.

The export news boosted wheat futures as well. Weather news may have affected the wheat markets Sunday night, since weathermen were talking about potential for persistent dryness over the central U.S. Golden grain prices built on those gains after the weekly USDA Export Inspections report stated the wheat figure at the upper end of forecasts. May CBOT wheat futures jumped 21.25 cents to $7.145/bushel at their Monday settlement, while May KCBT wheat futures leapt 23.25 cents to $7.945 and May MWE futures soared 19.75 to $7.63.

Cattle traders are probably uncertain about this week’s direction. Cash cattle prices essentially matched all-time highs late last week, but beef cutouts turned decidedly lower Thursday and Friday. That divergence seemingly confused CME traders as they tried to anticipate market action during the days and weeks just ahead. April cattle futures settled up 0.15 cents at 144.15 cents/pound Monday, while August advanced 0.22 cents to 133.72. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle ran up 1.02 cents to 176.30 cents/pound, and August surged 1.02 to 178.92.

Hog futures couldn’t sustain early Monday gains. Although country hog prices jumped again last Friday, the pork markets didn’t second that rise. Wholesale values slipped again at noon. Trader suspicions that pork prices have peaked may explain bullish traders’ inability to sustain the opening test of last week’s highs. Chicago prices turned sharply lower soon thereafter. April hogs dropped 1.02 cents to 124.65 cents/pound late Monday, while June plummeted 2.13 to 128.20.

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