Ag markets were generally mixed Monday night
Corn futures declined again Monday, with the main driver of the decline apparently being persistent weakness stemming from the USDA WASDE report from February 8. Improved precipitation prospects for both Argentina and the U.S. may also have weighed upon prices. Indeed, the market seemed to experience more of the same in Monday night-Tuesday morning activity. March corn slid 2.25 cents to$7.00/bushel overnight, while December fell 2.0 cents to $5.5675.
Soybean futures continued their recent breakdown Monday, but bounced slightly in overnight trading. Similar supply/demand fundamentals and weather considerations to those oppressing the corn market have been weighing upon beans. However, unlike corn, the nearby soybean contract settled on a par with technical support associated with its 40-day moving average Monday afternoon, which may have prompted the modest rebound experienced Monday night and Tuesday morning. March beans had risen 5.25 cents to $14.3675 in the pre-dawn hour, while March soyoil bounced 0.09 cents to 51.33 cents/pound, and March meal gained $2.9 to $415.9/ton.
Wheat futures continued their Monday decline in early Tuesday trading as well. Concurrent losses in the corn and soybean markets probably contributed to the slide yesterday, but the bulk of the ongoing drop can almost surely be blamed upon improvements in the Southern Plains moisture situation. Not only was that region blessed with significant rainfall over the weekend, a respected private forecaster released a guardedly optimistic weather forecast Monday morning. March CBOT wheat futures slipped another 3.5 cents to $7.38/bushel in overnight trading, while March KCBT wheat skidded 0.5 cents to $7.8825, and March MGE futures lost 1.0 cent to $8.25.
CME live cattle futures rose slightly Monday, then moved sideways to lower in Tuesday morning electronic activity. The concurrent bounce in choice cutout values may have supported the Chicago market, but traders will probably need to see much more of the same before they will be willing to actively sponsor the long side. Still, having the most-active April contract bounce back rather sharply from the eight-month low reached in early trading may inspire significant technical buying. April cattle were unchanged at 130.35 cents/pound overnight, while August dipped 0.07 cents to 126.35. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle slid 0.17 cents to 144.62 cents/pound, and August fell 0.07 cents to 157.60.
After rising slightly Monday, hog futures lost ground again overnight. Bullish traders were almost surely hoping weekend price stability had set the stage for a sustained rebound, especially with the CME lean hog index likely to remain above the 90.00-cent level when officially quoted later this morning. However, sizeable cash and wholesale losses Monday afternoon are probably weighing upon prices at this juncture. Technical traders may be looking for a follow-through breakdown from a seeming ‘bear flag’ formation on the April chart. April hogs had fallen 0.52 cents to 85.85 cents/pound in the early morning hours, while June had tumbled 0.77 cents to 94.00.
Cotton futures rallied Monday in response to two tentative forecasts for substantial reductions in U.S. cotton plantings this year. However, bulls could not sustain the move in overnight trading. The fact that they proved unable to mount a serious challenge of the recent 84.00-cent March futures high prompted fresh selling. Indeed, the daily chart for the nearby contract now looks like a market putting in a double top. March cotton fell 0.46 cents to 82.46 cents/pound early Tuesday morning, while December dove 0.84 cents to 83.00.
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