Ag markets narrowly mixed Monday morning

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Corn futures began the week poorly. Last Friday’s news that the EPA is proposing a cut in the ethanol mandate in 2014 and beyond continues exerting pressure on the corn market. However, the weekly Export Inspections report stated the latest corn sales figure well above forecasts, which sparked a midmorning bounce from early lows. December corn futures declined 3.5 cents to $4.185/bushel late Monday morning, while May dipped 3.0 to $4.355.

Strong export figures boosted the soy complex Monday morning. After tumbling last Friday, soybean futures got off to a slow start to start the week. However, the weekly USDA Export Inspections report stated the latest result at 87.8 million bushels, which topped expectations rather handily. That rise sparked fresh buying in the meal pit, but soyoil prices seem to be suffering from belated Asian weakness. January soybean futures climbed 6.5 cents to $12.87/bushel by late Monday morning, while December soyoil slipped 0.27 cents to 40.20 cents/pound, and December soymeal advanced $3.4 to $413.9/ton.

Traders seem to be bottom-picking in the wheat pits. Talk of low-ball bidding at weekend wheat tenders seemed negative for the golden grain markets. Conversely, the solid result on the weekly Export Inspections report probably encouraged buying. Thus, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see the wheat markets trading in mixed fashion. December CBOT wheat futures edged 0.75 cent lower to $6.4375/bushel around midsession Monday, while December KCBT wheat futures skidded 0.75 to $6.975, whereas December MWE futures inched 1.0 higher to $6.9775.

Wholesale weakness may be undercutting cattle futures. Cash cattle reportedly traded at steady-firm levels last Friday, which provided support for cattle futures. However, the late-day wholesale report stated choice beef cutout values had declined about 1.5 cents to their lowest level since late October. Concerns about further losses seem to be dragging prices downward. December cattle futures sagged 0.37 cents higher at 133.02 cents/pound in late Monday morning action, while April futures lost 0.22 to 134.80. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle slipped 0.02 cents to 165.80 cents/pound, but March feeders rose 0.25 cents to 165.70.

Concerns about high weights and growing supplies probably sank hog futures. Although hog slaughter remained below last year-ago levels last week, traders are apparently still worried about soaring hog weights and the underlying implications for larger supplies in the near future. CME premiums over the cash equivalent price aren’t encouraging either. December hog futures tumbled 0.17 cents to 85.72 cents/pound just before lunchtime Monday, while April added 0.02 to 92.47.

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