Ag markets were decidedly mixed Monday

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Corn futures firmed on supportive export news. Little fresh news concerning the corn market emerged over the weekend, so futures moved little Sunday night. However, Monday morning export news, particularly on the weekly Export Inspections report, appeared quite good. Talk of cash strength also encouraged buying. March corn inched up 2.25 cents to $4.3175/bushel Monday afternoon, while May added 2.0 to $4.38.

Export news apparently boosted nearby bean and meal futures Monday. The recent onset of what’s expected to be a record Brazilian harvest depressed soybean future to start the week. However, news of sizeable export sale and a strong result on the Export Inspections report supported prices. Strong meal sales were also encouraging. Fresh weakness in the Asian palm oil market once again dragged soyoil values lower. March soybeans gained 3.0 cents to $12.8775/bushel by late Monday afternoon, while March soyoil dove 0.48 cents to 37.06 cents/pound, and March soymeal climbed $5.2 to $430.9/ton.

Shifting weather forecasts may have undercut the wheat markets. Forecasts for arctic weather over the Midwest, along with news of a massive Saudi Arabian purchase, seemed to boost wheat futures in Sunday night action. However, the latest models indicate the coldest temperatures are now expected farther east, thereby suggesting much less danger of freeze damage during the days just ahead. The Export Inspections data weren’t helpful either. March CBOT wheat futures edged 1.75 cents lower to $5.635/bushel at their Monday settlement, while March KCBT wheat futures slid 4.75 cents to $6.225, and March MWE futures tumbled 6.5 to $6.065.

Rebounding beef prices supported cattle futures Monday. After spiking upward in mid-January, beef prices turned downward late last week and dragged nearby cattle futures lower as well. However, grocers may be doing some last minute buying ahead of Super Bowl weekend, which would explain the wholesale gains posted at midsession. Cattle futures ended the day trading in decidedly mixed fashion. February cattle futures closed 0.25 cents lower at 143.15 cents/pound Monday afternoon, while the April contract ran up 0.45 to 140.55. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle slipped 0.07 cents to 168.80 cents/pound, and May skidded 0.40 to 169.80.

The nearby hog contracts diverged Monday. News of last week’s comparatively large hog slaughter seemingly renewed concerns about short-term price prospects. Conversely, traders very likely believe the spring-summer situation will be much tighter, which partially explains the firmness exhibited by those contracts to start the week. February hogs fell 0.80 cents to 85.57 cents/pound late Monday morning, while June sagged 0.02 to 102.32.

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