Crop futures are starting the week on mixed-to-firm note

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Corn futures edged higher Sunday night. Talk of poor growing conditions and likely improvement in Chinese demand seemed to boost the corn and bean markets to start the week. Weakness in the wheat pits may have limited yellow grain strength. September gained 0.25 cent to $3.52/bushel early Monday morning, while December stalled at $3.635.

Talk of Chinese demand also supported nearby beans and meal. As in the corn market, traders reportedly focused upon growing Chinese dryness over the weekend, since that could reduce the productivity of its 2014 crops. The industry is apparently looking for resurgent Chinese buying of corn, beans and meal. September soybean futures climbed 4.5 cents to $11.1825/bushel Sunday night, while November futures skidded 2.75 cents to $10.82. September soyoil dropped 0.35 cents to 35.17 cents/pound, whereas September soymeal rose $2.5 to $370.4/ton.

Reduced Black Sea tensions undercut the wheat markets. Although wheat futures fell rather substantially last Friday, they would probably have fallen more substantially in the absence of conflict between Russian and Ukraine. There were no major outbreaks over the weekend, with Ukraine seemingly gaining the upper hand over rebel forces. That news seemingly spurred fresh wheat selling. September CBOT wheat dipped 4.25 cents to $5.45/bushel in early Monday trading, while September KC wheat sagged 3.5 cents to $6.2575/bushel, and September MWE wheat slipped 0.25 to $6.185.

Weak country trade apparently sparked another break in cattle futures last Friday. CME cattle prices plunged Thursday in response to news of weak Nebraska trading Wednesday afternoon. Western Plains cash prices subsequently fell even farther, which probably explained the follow-through Chicago dive. October and December live cattle futures plummeted the daily 3.00-cent limit to 150.00 and 150.25 cents/pound, respectively, at their week-ending close. Meanwhile, September and November feeder futures posted respective 3.00-cent crashes to 214.72 cents/pound and 212.60 cents/pound.

Hog futures recovered from early lows in late Friday trading. Hog futures also fell sharply in early Friday action. Selling spilling over from the cattle market, as well as concerns about continued cash weakness, appeared to power the drop. However, prices rebounded from the early lows, with technical and pragmatic factors likely playing significant roles in the bounce. October hog futures settled 0.92 cents lower at 99.32 cents/pound Friday afternoon, while December tumbled 2.67 cents to 89.15.

Talk of Chinese dryness may also be supporting the cotton market. Although the U.S. cotton situation is probably the best in years, weekend rumors of growing Chinese dryness seemed to spark fresh talk about that country’s likely import demand for various products. Given their huge buying in recent years, despite massive stockpiles of low-quality cotton, traders seemed to think that bodes well for U.S. export demand. December cotton rallied 0.49 cents to 64.70 shortly after sunrise Monday, while March futures advanced 0.44 cents to 65.47.

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