Crop markets began this week strongly, but cotton diverged

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The Export Inspections Report likely boosted corn Monday morning. Nearby corn futures ended last week resting on support at its 20-day moving average, but posted a seeming technical bounce Sunday night. They built on those gains as the morning passed, with the supportive result on the Export Inspections report apparently powering the follow-through. May corn surged 9.5 cents to $4.885/bushel late Monday morning, while December added 5.75 to $4.8575.

The soy complex remained firm despite the export data. Talk of slow Chinese demand reportedly weighed upon soybean futures in Sunday night trading, but prices rebounded as the Chicago trading day began. Again, technical buying seemed to power the bounce. Prices continued rising moderately despite a less than supportive result on the weekly Export Inspections report. This suggests underlying strength. May soybeans climbed 11.5 cents to $14.2025/bushel in late Monday morning action, while May soyoil slipped 0.08 cents to 40.94 cents/pound, and May soymeal rose $3.8 to $459.7/ton.

The export news boosted wheat futures as well. Weather news may have affected the wheat markets Sunday night, since weathermen were talking about potential for a bit of freeze damage stemming from current cold over the central U.S. Golden grain prices built on those gains after the weekly USDA Export Inspections report stated last the wheat figure at the upper end of forecasts. May CBOT wheat futures jumped 19.0 cents to $7.1225/bushel around midsession Monday, while May KCBT wheat futures leapt 19.0 cents to $7.9025 and May MWE futures soared 17.75 to $7.61.

Cattle traders are probably uncertain about this week’s direction. Cash cattle prices essentially matched all-time highs late last week, but beef cutouts turned decidedly lower Thursday and Friday. That divergence has seemingly confused CME traders as they try to anticipate market action during the days and weeks just ahead. April cattle futures gained 0.35 cents to 144.35 cents/pound shortly before lunchtime Monday, while August slid 0.05 cents to 133.45. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle ran up 0.72 cents to 176.00 cents/pound, and August gained 0.27 to 178.67.

Hog futures couldn’t sustain early Monday gains. Although country hog prices jumped again last Friday, the pork markets didn’t second that rise. Trader suspicions that pork prices have peaked may explain bullish traders’ inability to sustain the opening test of last week’s highs. Chicago prices turned sharply lower soon thereafter. April hogs plunged 1.17 cents to 134.50 cents/pound late Monday morning, while June plummeted 2.05 to 128.27.

Chinese news apparently sank cotton futures this morning. Cotton futures seemed to move modestly higher in concert with equity index futures Sunday night. However, ICE values then suffered a belated bearish reaction to Chinese news that officials were planning to lower the floor price for cotton to be sold out of the massive government reserve. May cotton dove 1.96 cents to 91.35 cents/pound just before noon (EDT) Monday, while December cotton fell 0.72 to 79.53.

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