Crop markets began the week in mixed fashion

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Corn futures are starting the week on a soft note. Ongoing rains over parts of the Corn Belt and improved weather forecasts for the central U.S. seemed to weigh upon corn future Sunday night. The losses may have been limited by gains in the soy and wheat complexes. May corn slipped 2.0 cents to $4.9975/bushel early Monday morning, while December lost 0.75 to $5.06.

Weather forecasts may also be affecting the soy complex. Forthcoming rainfall forecast for the Midwest seems to favor good corn plantings, which in turn might limit the bean seedings that follow. On the other hand, if the precipitation causes significant planting delays, the bean outlook might suffer as acreage shifts from corn to beans. Asian palm weakness is weighing upon the oil market. May soybeans edged up 3.5 cent to $14.7725/bushel in predawn Monday action, while May soyoil skidded 0.01 cents to 41.56 cents/pound, and May soymeal rose $1.8 to $480.9/ton.

The wheat markets posted significant Sunday night gains. The latest weather forecasts appear less promising for western and southern Plains moisture when compared to those for the Midwest. That may explain the sizeable gains posted by the various wheat markets. May CBOT wheat futures rallied 6.25 cents to $6.76/bushel as Monday dawned over Chicago, while May KCBT wheat futures bounced 7.0 cents to $7.4075 and May MWE futures advanced 4.5 cents to $7.26.

Cattle futures suffered from spillover hog weakness Friday. That may have exaggerated concerns about a potential drop in country cattle prices, especially with wholesale beef prices reportedly proving quite weak as well. The futures drop apparently presaged $2-$3 country losses Friday afternoon, which may bode ill for today’s opening. June cattle futures plunged 2.57 cents to 134.80 cents/pound as pit trading ended Friday, while December dove 2.07 to 138.85. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle sank 1.62 cents to 178.52 cents/pound, and August lost 1.60 to 180.22.

Big wholesale losses sparked strong hog selling late last week. Cash hog quotes proved quite firm Thursday afternoon, but pork cutout values plummeted. That breakdown clearly triggered active selling in CME hog futures Friday morning. Most contracts locked at limit-down levels despite signs of a wholesale rebound. June hog futures crashed the daily 3.0-cent limit to 120.55 cents/pound in late Friday action, while December tumbled 2.40 to 89.10.

Chinese news may be depressing cotton futures to start the week. China’s top economic planning body set the target price for that nation’s cotton sector at $3,200/tonne ($1.45/pound) Saturday. And while that seems very high by ICE futures standards, the market reacted weakly to that news when trading resumed yesterday. Expected equity market weakness may also be weighing upon fiber values. May cotton slid 0.36 cents to 92.04 cents/pound just after sunrise (EDT) Monday, while December cotton dipped 0.09 to 79.83.

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