Ag markets moved mostly higher Monday night

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Slow planting progress is boosting the crop markets. Monday’s afternoon USDA Crop Progress report showed spring plantings are running well behind seasonal norms. Indeed, the corn figure, at just 6% planted, fell 2% below industry expectations, which almost surely played a big part in the overnight futures bounce. May corn rebounded 3.25 cents to $4.9175/bushel Monday night, while December rose 3.25 to $4.9325.

The soy complex rallied significantly Monday night. Although soybean plantings hardly rated a mention, the weekly Crop Progress report might have been viewed as negative for new crop prices, since delayed corn plantings could presage a big shift to beans in late spring. Ultimately, this morning’s strength looks like a technical bounce from Monday’s surprisingly large drop. May soybeans gained 7.0 cents to $15.0575/bushel in early Tuesday action, while May soyoil ran up 0.29 cents to 43.29 cents/pound, and May soymeal added $2.2 to $487.9/ton.

The Crop Progress report also looked bullish for wheat. The Monday afternoon Crop Progress stated spring wheat plantings well behind normal and indicated winter wheat conditions even worse than the poor results indicated at this same time last year. The Russia-Ukraine situation hasn’t improved either. Thus, it isn’t terribly surprising to see futures moving mostly higher. May CBOT wheat futures rallied 3.25 cents to $6.715/bushel early Tuesday morning, and May KCBT wheat futures climbed 4.0 cents to $7.38, while May MWE futures slipped 2.25 to $7.1225.

Cattle traders are apparently awaiting events. CME live cattle futures moved generally higher overnight, but the gains were quite modest. The Chicago strength almost surely reflected the big bounce in beef cutout values posted Monday. However, concerns about a seasonal supply surge and a history of spring weakness is apparently limiting the futures reaction. June cattle futures edged up 0.22 cents to 134.77 cents/pound soon after sunrise Tuesday, while December rose 0.15 cents to 139.82. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle crept up 0.15 cents to 178.25 cents/pound, and August gained 0.27 to 182.17.

Wholesale weakness is weighing upon the hog and pork complex. Although hog and pork supplies are declining on a seasonal basis, the stunning price spike experienced in late winter has very likely damaged demand, especially at current prices. Sizeable Monday afternoon pork losses were somewhat offset by mixed cash quotes. Bulls are likely desperate to avoid a follow-through to Monday’s breakdown. June hog futures slumped 0.47 cents to 121.87 cents/pound as trading accelerated Tuesday morning, but December bounced 0.15 to 88.15.

An attaché report may have boosted cotton futures last night. The weekly Crop Progress report stated current cotton plantings at a very slow pace, particularly in Texas and across the Southeast. That probably supported deferred futures, but the nearby contracts were likely reacting to a report from the USDA attaché in Australia, who indicated that that country’s 2014/15 production and export totals would 5% below year-ago rates. May cotton jumped 0.94 cents to 90.63 cents/pound soon after sunrise (EDT) Tuesday, while December cotton inched up 0.15 to 82.14.

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