Cattle bucked Monday's bearish ag market trend

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Weather news appears to depress the crop markets. Although news that March Chinese imports of U.S. corn fell sharply from last year probably weighed on CBOT prices, the weather was reportedly a bigger factor. Talk that improving Midwest weather will be very conducive to late-April corn plantings spurred widespread selling. May corn closed 6.25 cents lower at $4.885/bushel Monday, while December lost 6.75 to $4.90.

Weather forecasts were also bearish for the soy complex. Traders were wary of the long side amidst growing Monday talk of looming Chinese defaults on previously purchased beans and products. However, as in the corn pit, predictions for favorable U.S. planting weather and the likely increase in harvest size appeared to spur strong CBOT selling as well. May soybeans plunged 15.25 cents to $14.9875/bushel Monday, while May soyoil dropped 0.41 cents to 43.00 cents/pound, and May soymeal tumbled $2.6 to $485.7/ton.

Improving U.S. weather also weighed on the wheat markets. Ideas that forthcoming southern Plains weather will bring substantial moisture to drought stricken wheat fields sent golden grain markets sharply lower Monday. Conditions also look favorable for spring wheat plantings in the northern Plains. May CBOT wheat futures plummeted 23.0 cents to $6.6825/bushel at their Monday settlement, while May KCBT wheat futures crashed 24.0 cents to $7.34, and May MWE futures dove 18.25 to $7.145.

Monday’s beef gains may have supported cattle futures. CME cattle traders very anticipate sustained seasonal weakness during the days and weeks ahead, which probably accounts for the weak opening. However, sizeable midsession beef gains seemingly sparked a late rebound. June cattle futures rose 0.17 cents to 134.55 cents/pound in late Monday trading, while December stalled at 139.67. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle edged up 0.05 cents to 178.10 cents/pound, and August gained 0.50 to 181.82.

Concerns about continued cash losses seemingly spurred hog selling. Although the cash hog and wholesale pork markets are showing intermittent signs of strength, the larger trend is clearly pointing toward lower levels. Given the fact that the spring and summer contracts began the week at premiums to spot values, Monday’s losses weren’t terribly surprising. June hog futures dove 2.47 cents to 122.35 cents/pound as trading wound down Monday, while December dropped 0.75 to 88.00.

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