Corn futures traded firmly Monday morning, possibly due to the publication of trade surveys ahead of the Thursday morning release of the USDA Prospective Plantings report. The average corn forecast, at 97.3 million acres, fell below that predicted by a prominent analytics firm Friday, which may have persuaded traders toward a smaller result. The weekly Export Inspections report also proved rather large, which probably offered support as well. May corn rose 1.0 cents to $7.2725/bushel late Monday morning, while December gained 2.5 cents to $5.6775.
Wire service sourced cited widespread long-liquidation for weakness in soybean futures Monday morning. That seems rather logical, especially since surveys released ahead of the widely-anticipated Thursday morning USDA reports appeared likely to support the bean market. Talk of improvements in the South American logistical situation may have undercut prices as well. May soybeans dropped 1.25 cents to $14.3925/bushel just before lunchtime Monday, while May soyoil slipped 0.04 cents to 50.39 cents/pound, while May meal inched downward $0.1 to $419.2/ton.
Wheat futures moved generally lower Monday morning, possibly in reaction to the sizeable weekend snows received by several areas of the Midwest. In addition, the fact that wire service surveys in preparation for the USDA Prospective Plantings report topped anecdotal figures posted late last week may have depressed prices somewhat. May CBOT wheat futures skidded 3.5 cents to $7.2625/bushel in late Monday morning trading, while May KCBT wheat slid 3.0 cents to $7.585, and May MGE futures slumped 2.25 cents to $8.0425.
Cattle futures proved surprisingly weak Monday in the wake of the Friday, March 22 USDA Cattle on Feed report. February feedlot marketings slightly exceeded the average of industry forecasts, which apparently depressed the nearby April future. Conversely, bulls could not sustain early gains in response to small February feedlot placements. Anticipation of poor late-month cattle and beef prices may be weighing upon CME futures. April cattle were unchanged at 126.20 cents/pound around mid-session Monday, while August rose 0.17 cents to 123.02. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures gained 0.15 cent to 138.20 cents/pound, whereas August climbed 0.05 cents to 148.00.
CME lean hog futures sank Monday morning in apparent response to the USDA Cold Storage report last Friday, which stated ending-February U.S. pork stockpiles at an all-time high for that date. The big Friday drop in cash hog values may also be weighing upon the market. April hogs fell 0.25 cents to 77.80 cents/pound late Monday morning, while June dropped 0.05 cents to 89.67.