Crop markets are starting the week in mixed fashion

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Weather and export news is depressing corn prices to start the week. Current U.S. weather remains very favorable for the growing crop, with many now expecting a record fall harvest. That depressed new-crop prices once again, while news that China has stopped issuing import permits for U.S. distillers grains is probably weighing on old crop prices. July corn fell 4.75 cents to $4.5425/bushel Sunday night, while December slumped 5.75 cents to $4.52.

New crop soy futures continue gaining on nearby contracts. Traders have apparently become convinced that prospects of a large fall soybean harvest will cause buyers to delay old crop buying and hold out until the fall harvest is underway before returning to the market. That would seemingly explain the ongoing drop in old-crop prices and new-crop gains in the face of widespread grain weakness. July soybeans dropped 3.25 cents to $14.5375/bushel in early Monday action, while July soyoil rallied 0.40 cents to 39.41 cents/pound, and July soymeal tumbled $7.1 to $480.5/ton.

The wheat markets began the week on a mixed note. Weekend rains over the eastern Corn Belt seemingly weighed on the Chicago soft-red winter market, whereas KC and MWE futures sustained last week’s late gains. Traders now suspect recent southern Plains rainfall came too late to help winter wheat in that region, whereas they seemingly suspect the northern Plains are too wet. July CBOT wheat futures slipped 1.25 cents to $6.17/bushel shortly after sunrise Monday, while July KCBT wheat rose 2.0 cents to $7.375 and July MWE futures gained 1.75 cents to $7.11.

CME cattle prices turned mixed last Friday. CME live cattle futures rose last as traders came to anticipate firm-higher cash prices before the weekend. The June contract sustained the move Friday, but deferred futures weakened. That probably reflected big wholesale losses posted late in the week, as well as suspicions that seasonal cash/beef weakness will re-emerge by mid-June. August cattle slipped 0.02 cents to 141.30 cents/pound as pit trading ended Friday, while December fell 0.32 cents to 147.30. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle surged 0.70 cents to 200.52 cents/pound, and October rose 0.30 to 200.82.

Seasonal optimism seemed to power CME hogs upward on Friday. Thursday afternoon cash strength seemed supportive of Chicago swine futures and midsession pork gains provided additional encouragement. Hog traders rather clearly expect a big summer price surge, as indicated by the big July-August premiums built upon today. August hog futures climbed 1.10 cents to 129.30 cents/pound at their Friday close, while December advanced 0.70 cents to 94.60.

Cotton futures are retesting recent lows. After bouncing early last week, nearby cotton futures worked lower on Friday. They’re starting this week rather poorly, with traders seemingly suspecting this afternoon’s weekly Crop Progress report to indicate strong Texas planting progress and early crop growth last week. Futures look vulnerable to a follow-through technical decline. July cotton sank 0.33 cents to 84.45 cents/pound early Monday morning, while December cotton sagged 0.35 to 77.65.

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