Ag markets ended quite mixed again Tuesday

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Good crop prospects continued weighing on corn futures Tuesday. Monday’s USDA Crop Progress report stated the initial 2014 condition rating at 76% good-excellent, which is tied for second-best of the past 20 years. Pre-report estimates averaged about 70%. This implied huge fall production if summer weather cooperates. That news, along with concurrent bean and wheat losses depressed futures once again. July corn sank 7.25 cents to $4.5825/bushel Tuesday, while December slid 4.25 cents to $4.5425.

The Crop Progress report sparked soy complex selling as well. Last week’s favorable weather enabled farmers to plant soybeans at a torrid pace, with the current completion rate at 78% topping both the five and 10-year averages for early June. That almost surely triggered new-crop CBOT sales. Trader suspicions that the recent price strength has rationed demand seemingly depressed old-crop futures. July soybeans plunged 19.25 cents to $14.8125/bushel in late Tuesday action, while July soyoil bounced 0.04 cents to 38.35 cents/pound, and July soymeal slumped $6.4 to $499.6/ton.

Weather news also depressed the wheat markets. Having the Crop Progress report indicate a big surge in spring wheat plantings last week probably spurred wheat sales again Tuesday. In addition, the winter wheat markets declined despite last week’s lack of improvement in conditions. The bearish global situation apparently overwhelmed all supportive domestic news. July CBOT wheat futures fell 8.25 cents to $6.125/bushel as Tuesday’s pit session ended, while July KCBT wheat tumbled 11.0 cents to $7.0775 and July MWE futures dove 12.75 cents to $6.845.

Fresh beef strength may have spurred Tuesday’s CME cattle buying. Chicago traders apparently expect active grocery industry buying to support beef and cattle prices through early June. Thus, they were probably encouraged by the wholesale gains indicated this morning. August cattle surged 0.95 cents to 140.07 cents/pound late Tuesday afternoon, while December added 0.30 cents to 146.37. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle climbed 0.72 cents to 198.30 cents/pound, and October rose 0.37 to 199.27.

Hog traders are anticipating a bullish push. Last week’s low hog slaughter has apparently encouraged hog traders to think the long-anticipated summer surge in hog and pork prices will begin soon. That would explain today’s sizeable CME gains despite this morning’s signs of cash and wholesale weakness. August hog futures leapt 1.70 cents to 127.65 cents/pound in late Tuesday action, but December stumbled 0.50 lower to 94.75.

Technical factors seemed to drive cotton fluctuations Tuesday. The Crop Progress report indicated that U.S. cotton plantings were 74% complete Sunday; the subsequent ICE rally suggests traders were expecting much more progress. Nearby July future swung rather wildly, which apparently reflected a strong technical influence on prices. July cotton jumped 0.88 cents to 87.36 cents/pound at Tuesday’s settlement, while December cotton inched up 0.04 to 78.10.

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