Ag markets turned decidedly mixed Monday morning

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Corn resumed remained weak Monday morning. Worries about persistent Chinese rejections of U.S. corn shipments contaminated with an unapproved GMO strain apparently carried over from last week, thereby depressing CBOT prices to start the week. The weak result on the USDA Export Inspections report didn’t help. March corn futures dropped 1.5 cents to $4.24/bushel late Monday morning, while May lost 1.5 cents to 4.3225.

Soybeans turned upward around midmorning. After beginning the week shakily Sunday night, soybean futures turned upward just before the CBOT pit session commenced this morning. Wire service reports cited bargaining hunting by bulls. The weekly Export Inspections also proved quite supportive. January soybeans surged 8.5 cents to $13.36/bushel around midsession Monday, while January soyoil climbed 0.36 cents to 40.19 cents/pound, and January soymeal gained $3.0 to $435.6/ton.

The export inspections data didn’t help the wheat markets. Wheat futures also began the week rather poorly, due in part to concurrent corn and bean losses. Talk of expansionary Russian production targets may also have depressed prices. The situation wasn’t helped by the weekly USDA Export Inspections report, which was stated near the middle of the relatively weak forecast range. March CBOT wheat futures tumbled 5.75 cents to $6.23/bushel just before lunchtime Monday, while March KCBT wheat futures declined 5.5 cents to $6.67, and March MWE futures skidded 4.25 cents to $6.5625.

Improving winter prospects seemingly boosted cattle futures Monday. Country cattle prices dropped about $1/cwt (cent/pound) last Friday, due in part to big wholesale losses posted late last week. However, traders know that beef weakness almost surely reflects seasonal rib losses potentially ending before Christmas. Wintry weather, limited feedlot supplies and seasonally declining marketings still seem likely to dominate events during the days and weeks ahead. February cattle futures bounced 0.75 cents to 133.60 cents/pound by late Monday morning, and April futures ran up 0.65 to 134.45. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle futures rallied 0.20 to 167.27 cents/pound and March advanced 0.22 cents to 166.77.

Hog futures remained weak this morning. Bulls have recently anticipated a strong seasonal advance into mid-winter, but the latest news has undercut those hopes. A big late-week dive in pork prices was seconded by sizeable western Corn Belt cash losses. The potential for a significant year-to-year increase in hog slaughter may also be depressing prices. February hog futures dove 0.60 cents to 86.57 cents/pound in Monday morning action, while June sagged 0.42 to 99.07.

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