Crop markets are mostly lower to start the week

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Chinese news may be weighing on corn to start the week. Chinese officials announced overnight that their March imports of U.S. corn had fallen far short of the comparable year-ago level. That probably exaggerated selling stemming from expectations for accelerated corn plantings this week. May corn slid 4.0 cents to $4.9075/bushel Sunday night, while December lost 4.5 to $4.9225.

Worries about Chinese defaults may be dragging soy values lower. The soy complex seemed to lose its upward momentum last Thursday, which may be spurring technical selling to start this week. Traders are also wary of the long side amidst growing talk of looming Chinese defaults on previously purchased beans and products. May soybeans fell 9.25 cents to $15.0475/bushel early Monday morning, while May soyoil dropped 0.36 cents to 43.05 cents/pound, and May soymeal dipped $2.5 to $485.8/ton.

Improving U.S. weather depressed wheat markets Sunday night. Ideas that forthcoming Great Plains weather will be much more conducive to wheat growth and plantings seemed to weigh heavily upon futures prices to start the week. The Ukraine-Russia situation seems little improved, but it apparently did little to support the markets. May CBOT wheat futures plunged 15.0 cents to $6.7625/bushel in early Monday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures dove 13.0 cents to $7.45, and May MWE futures tumbled 10.25 to $7.225.

Cash weakness likely undercut cattle futures last week. Last Wednesday’s surprising beef gains appeared to support CME cattle futures in Thursday. However, producers reportedly took about $1-$2 less for the cattle (with packers paying $146-$148/cwt) later that day. That sent futures tumbling. June cattle futures sank 1.25 cents to 134.37 cents/pound to end last week’s trading, while December dropped 0.30 to 139.67. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle plummeted 1.85 cents to 178.05 cents/pound, and August fell 1.57 to 181.40.

Technicians may have bought hog futures last Thursday. Cash and wholesale news was not been particularly supportive of the short-term hog outlook late last week. Nevertheless, some traders seemed to be looking for a significant late-spring price rebound, since the market often proves quite strong in May and June. Technicians appeared to buy in anticipation of a larger short-term advance. June hog futures climbed 1.05 cents to 124.82 cents/pound as the CME session ended last Thursday, while December moved up 0.25 to 88.75.

Cotton futures were mixed to start the week. As has been rather routine lately, old and new crop cotton futures diverged to start the week. The relative tightness of the current situation once again supported the nearby contracts, whereas improving weather prospects appeared to depress their deferred counterparts. May cotton rallied 0.49 cents to 90.66 cents/pound as this week’s trading got underway, while December cotton slipped 0.05 to 81.89.

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