Ag markets moved generally lower again Monday night

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News of South Korean buying seemed to boost corn futures Monday night. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report indicated that U.S. corn farmers had charged ahead last week, with the 59% completion rate topping average forecasts by 2%-4%. That seemed likely to sink CBOT futures, but news that a South Korean firm had bought 120,000 tonnes of corn overnight. Forecasts for a wet week across the Corn Belt may also be supporting prices. July corn rallied 1.75 cents to $5.0125/bushel early Tuesday morning, while December rose 0.75 cent to $4.9275.

Soybeans also firmed despite strong planting progress. The weekly report indicated that domestic bean plantings had surged to 20% complete last week; that greatly exceeded comparable week- and year-ago levels, while still running 5% behind the 10-year mean. Nevertheless, the tight old crop situation seemed to boost nearby futures, with oil strength seeming to support nearby beans as well. July soybeans climbed 7.0 cents to $14.7225/bushel around dawn Tuesday, while July soyoil rallied 0.32 to 41.30 cents/pound, and July soymeal added $2.6 to $480.8/ton.

Wheat futures were mixed Monday night. The Crop Progress showed continued deterioration of the winter wheat crop, while spring wheat plantings still lagged. Moreover, frost is hitting Colorado and eastern Kansas. Thus, the KCBT and MWE gains posted last night weren’t surprising, especially when combined with news of big sale to Taiwan. Talk of good Illinois conditions probably weighed on Chicago prices. July CBOT wheat futures slipped 1.25 cents to $7.1375/bushel in early Tuesday trading, while July KCBT wheat futures gained 1.0 cent to $8.255, and July MWE futures dropped 1.25 to $7.92.

Cattle futures proved narrowly mixed Monday night. CME cattle futures haven’t acted particularly well lately despite persistent country firmness. Persistent wholesale losses have rather clearly handicapped bulls. However, cutouts actually rose Monday, which may give fresh hope to Chicago bulls. Still, prices were virtually unchanged overnight. June cattle edged 0.02 cents lower to 137.62 cents/pound as Tuesday dawned over Chicago, while December skidded 0.02 to 144.75. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle inched up 0.02 cents to 191.90 cents/pound, and October rose 0.10 cents to 192.70.

Cash weakness seems to be depressing hog futures. Although wholesale pork prices rose rather sharply Monday, country hog prices proved just as weak. That weakness seemingly overruled bullish sentiment at the CME, especially after the most-active June future gapped below the pivotal 120-cent level yesterday. June hog futures dropped 0.20 cents to 118.80 cents/pound in early Tuesday action, while December slumped 0.15 to 93.92.

Cotton planting data are exerting fresh pressure on ICE futures. U.S. cotton plantings advanced 14% to 30% complete last week, thereby forging far ahead of the year-ago rate. This news seems likely to exaggerate the technical decline begun late last week, despite news of diminished Chinese inventories. July cotton declined 0.40 cents to 90.90 cents/pound shortly after sunrise (EDT) Tuesday, while December cotton dipped 0.30 to 83.27.

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