Ag markets were narrowly mixed Monday night

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Corn futures dipped Monday night. Although the corn market obviously responded well to last Friday’s supportive USDA data, futures set back last night as traders recalled the current U.S. surplus. Last week’s sizeable declines in ethanol and distillers grains may also be weighing upon prices. March corn futures slid 2.5 cents to $4.32/bushel in early Tuesday action, while May lost 2.5 to $4.40/bushel.

Talk of strong exports is supporting soybeans Tuesday morning. Soybeans and meals rallied Monday in response to good export news. CBOT traders apparently view those developments as part of a general trend, so it wasn’t terribly surprising to see those markets rise again this morning. Meanwhile, Asian palm weakness is keeping pressure on oil values. March soybeans rallied 7.75 cents to $12.98/bushel early Tuesday morning, while March soyoil advanced 0.03 cents to 37.87 cents/pound, and March soymeal gained $1.8 to $423.7/ton.

The wheat markets followed corn lower overnight. Although wheat prices rallied modestly Monday, they slipped back toward three-year lows this morning. Traders were apparently reminded of the size of current global stockpiles by an announcement from Ukraine, indicating that it had boosted its estimate of its exportable supply by 1.0 million tonnes to 33 mt. March CBOT wheat futures skidded 2.0 cents to $5.715/bushel in pre-dawn Tuesday trading, and March KCBT wheat futures sagged 2.25 cents to $6.175, and March MWE futures slumped 1.25 to $6.165.

Cattle futures remain stuck in their recent trading range. CME cattle prices seemingly had every reason to break out to the upside over the weekend, since cash cattle and wholesale beef markets have surged to record highs. Indeed, beef prices hit fresh records yesterday. Continued strength seems likely to spark a fresh bullish move, but bulls can’t be happy with recent futures action. February cattle futures were steady at 136.65 cents/pound overnight, while April futures added just 0.02 to 137.10. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures edged up 0.15 cents to 166.62 cents/pound, while May was flat at 168.15.

The hog market is also struggling. Premiums built into hog futures show the industry expects a traditional seasonal advance from recent lows. Conversely, the size of the February premium is rather small by historical standards, thereby indicating uncertainty about short-term prospects. That’s also indicated by steady-lower price action last night despite firming cash and a relatively modest pork price decline Monday afternoon. February hogs stalled at 85.37 cents/pound Monday night, while June dropped 0.15 to 100.55.

Cotton set back from Monday’s highs. Ice cotton futures posted an impressive rally despite a lack of supportive news Monday. Bulls then retested the early-afternoon highs in overnight action, but proved unable to trigger a bullish breakout from the recent trading range. It would be easy to assume the market will continue trending sideways, but that certainly isn’t guaranteed. March cotton sank 0.11 cents to 83.57 cents/pound just after the sun rose over New York Tuesday, and July cotton tumbled 0.36 cents to 83.38.


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