Crop markets began the week in mixed fashion

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Talk of firm demand is supporting corn futures to start the week. Last week’s late news was dominated by strong export sales, thereby reemphasizing talk of vigorous global demand. When combined with the recent lift above technical support, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see corn futures rise modestly Sunday night. March corn edged up 2.25 cents to $4.3625/bushel Friday, while May gained 2.0 to $4.415.

Strong South American production prospects depressed soybeans Sunday night. Wire service reports indicate early Brazilian soybean yields are topped expectations, thereby implying that country’s harvest could also exceed forecasts. A report that Malaysia’s January palm oil exports fell 10.8% from December may have dragged soyoil values lower as well. Strong demand is probably supporting meal. March soybeans dipped 1.25 cents to $12.815/bushel early Monday morning, while March soyoil dropped 0.26 cents to 37.38 cents/pound, but March soymeal inched up $0.3 to $426.4/ton.

The wheat markets began the week in mixed fashion. Little domestic wheat news emerged over the weekend, whereas global reports seemed contradictory. Severe cold and other problems have reportedly slowed the movement of Black Sea grain to the international market, whereas India sold a sizeable tranche from its massive reserve. Thus, the U.S. markets began the week by posting divergent price action. March CBOT wheat futures rose 0.75 cent to $5.565/bushel in early Monday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures skidded 0.75 cent to $6.1475, and March MWE futures lost 0.5 to $6.035.

Cattle futures ended last week on a mixed note. Hopes for cash firmness may have supported cattle futures somewhat Friday, despite big midsession wholesale losses. News of a California packing plant closure probably weighed on the market as well. However, the market could open firmly today, since most numbers on the late-afternoon Cattle inventory report from the USDA fell short of forecasts. February cattle futures sank 0.47 cents to 141.67 cents/pound as CME trading ended Friday, while April slumped 0.10 to 140.42. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle bounced 0.72 cents to 169.47 cents/pound, and May surged 0.65 to 170.20.

A Tyson statement boosted deferred hog futures at Friday’s close. The expiring February hog contract slipped again Friday; it’s handicapped by its premium to spot quotes. However, Tyson officials suggested spring-summer hog supplies could fall 2%-4% this year due to the spread of PEDV disease and resulting piglet deaths. Deferred futures rallied sharply in response. February hogs skidded 0.15 cents to 86.22 cents/pound in late Friday trading, whereas June leapt 1.47 to 104.82.

Cotton futures also began the week on a down beat. Rising exchange stocks depressed cotton futures last week and seem to be doing the same in early Monday action. That is, ICE officials reported another 11,674 bales were added last Friday, thereby implying active deliveries against expiring March futures next month. Talk of major problems in developing markets isn’t helping the situation. March cotton slid 0.27 cents to 85.56 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Monday, while July cotton was unchanged at 85.94.

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