Ag markets posted disparate movements again Tuesday

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Corn futures sustained moderate gains Tuesday. The persistent tightness of the old crop situation apparently supported the nearby contracts. Traders cited short-covering for strength in deferred futures. That firmness in the face of sliding soybeans, the equity index setback from early highs and a modest U.S. dollar rebound was rather impressive. September corn futures settled 6.25 cents higher at $4.955/bushel Tuesday afternoon, while December bounced 4.25 cents to $4.775.

The soy complex proved vulnerable to renewed selling Tuesday. Although the old crop meal situation still seems tight, most soy contracts turned decidedly lower after the early-morning trading pause. The most likely spark to the decline came from the weather, since many Corn Belt fields were blessed with substantial rainfall today. August soybean futures dove 17.5 cents to $13.50/bushel at their Tuesday close, while November beans plunged 17.0 cents to $12.03. August soyoil sank 0.36 cents to 42.11 cents/pound and August soymeal crashed $9.7 to $429.2/ton.

Good export news seemingly boosted wheat futures again Tuesday. News that China had recently bought 1.5 million tonnes of Australian wheat was followed by an announcement of large Egyptian buying this morning. Winter wheat futures may also have gathered support from talk that recent rains caused lots of wheat to sprout while still in the head; that could substantially reduce the anticipated harvest. September CBOT wheat climbed 3.75 cents to $6.5525/bushel late Tuesday afternoon, while September KCBT wheat surged 6.0 cents to $6.9625 and September MGE futures added 3.0 cents to $7.3725.

Chicago cattle prices proved surprisingly weak again Tuesday. Trader disappointment with recent futures action, as well as the persistent wholesale weakness seen so far this week probably discouraged bulls. Weakness spilling over from the hog pit may have exaggerated selling and the negative feeder cattle reaction to rising corn prices didn’t help. August cattle sank 0.45 cents to 121.65 cents/pound at their Tuesday settlement, while December slid 0.35 cents to 128.37. August feeder futures declined 0.03 cents to 153.25 cents/pound and November tumbled 0.35 cents to 159.55.

Hog futures moved decidedly lower Tuesday. Given the firm nature of this week’s wholesale quotes, as well as the discounts built into futures, the losses were surprising. Ultimately, sizeable losses suffered at direct markets in the western Corn Belt Monday seemed to depress the Chicago market. Traders also cited fund selling. August hog futures closed down 1.02 cents at 96.87 cents/pound Tuesday, while December tanked 0.95 cents to 80.60.

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