Ag markets were mixed again Tuesday night

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Corn futures built upon Tuesday’s bounce overnight. Forecasts for improved South American rainfall had weighed upon prices to start the week, but prices firmed later in the day. Traders cited bargain hunting, but we suspect they were also looking at Argentine weather maps that were somewhat less favorable than those seen earlier in the day. That seemed to be the case again overnight. March corn rose 2.0 cents to $4.27/bushel early Wednesday morning, while May gained 1.5 to $4.3375/bushel.

The soy complex is generally mixed Wednesday morning. After diving Tuesday, soybean and meal futures moved slightly higher last night. As mentioned above, suspicions that forthcoming Argentine rains will fall short of prior expectations may be behind the firmness. In contrast, the latest shift in Asian palm oil values reversed a portion of yesterday’s advance in soyoil values. March soybeans inched 0.25 cent lower to $12.8025/bushel in pre-dawn Wednesday trading, while March soyoil sagged 0.17 cents to 37.93 cents/pound, and March soymeal added $1.2 to $417.7/ton.

The wheat markets also rallied Tuesday night. Talk of improving export demand supported wheat futures overnight, especially after Algeria tendered to buy 500,000 tonnes in the early morning hours. Traders also remain concerned about the damage being done to U.S. winter wheat, since severe cold and Southern Plains dryness have emerged as factors lately. March CBOT wheat futures edged up 1.25 cents to $5.635/bushel in early Wednesday morning action, while March KCBT wheat futures increased 4.25 cents to $6.255, and March MWE futures ran up 5.0 to $6.1875.

The ongoing cattle rally seems in danger of stalling. Surging beef prices boosted cattle futures again Tuesday, due in part in expectations for another rise in cash prices later this week. However, the afternoon beef report stated cutout values only slightly above the midday quote, which seemingly raised questions about the complex’s upside potential from this point. February cattle futures crept up 0.15 cents to 141.70 cents/pound as Wednesday dawned over Chicago, while April futures climbed 0.25 to 140.47. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures slumped 0.12 cents to 168.20 cents/pound, and May skidded 0.20 to 169.80.

Hog futures are trading mixed again this morning. Given recent slippage by the exchange index, CME swine traders are apparently worried about the cash markets’ ability to justify nearby futures premiums. Modest cash gains yesterday may have alleviated those concerns somewhat, but concurrent wholesale weakness wasn’t encouraging. February hogs slipped 0.07 cents to 85.90 cents/pound early Wednesday morning, while June sagged 0.02 to 101.82.

Cotton gave back a portion of its recent gains last night. Talk of substantially reduced Chinese cotton plantings this year seemingly powered Tuesday’s sizeable ICE rally, but prices dipped in overnight trading. Chinese news seemingly played a significant role once again, with talk of using price targets and a likely reliance on international prices seeming to deflate bullish ideas. March cotton slid 0.33 cents to 87.80 cents/pound just after the sun rose over New York Wednesday, while July cotton sank 0.37 cents to 87.54.

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