Crop markets moved upward Sunday night

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The crop markets moved generally higher Sunday night. Wheat led the crop markets higher due to fears of frost damage to large areas by the arctic temperatures beginning tonight and extending into Tuesday. Corn followed golden grain prices higher despite huge supplies and expectations for large South American crops during the coming weeks. March corn futures rose 1.75 cents to $4.2525/bushel in early Monday trading, while May added 2.0 cents to $4.3375/bushel.

Soybeans also rallied slightly in early-week trading. Recent news from South America has pointed toward huge soybean crops in Brazil and Argentina, which in turn tended to depress prices. However, those bearish developments may now be incorporated into CBOT prices, since bean and meal prices bounced Sunday night. However, Asian palm oil weakness apparently dragged soyoil futures downward. March soybeans advanced 2.5 cents to $12.7375/bushel in pre-dawn trading Monday, while March soyoil slid 0.26 cents to 38.34 cents/pound, and March soymeal added $2.9 to $410.0/ton.

The wheat markets are reacting to frigid weather. Traders worry that U.S. wheat fields, especially those in the Southern Plains are not well enough protected with snow to avoid widespread frost damage from the arctic conditions now dominating the Great Plains and Midwest. The Kansas City prices led the CBOT higher, while Minneapolis futures lagged behind. March CBOT wheat futures rallied 3.25 cents to $6.0925/bushel early Monday morning, while March KCBT wheat futures surged 4.75 cents to $6.4725, and March MWE futures lifted 3.25 to $6.3375.

Renewed beef strength boosted cattle prices last Friday. Cattle futures turned decisively higher Thursday in response to news of a fresh upward push in country prices and forecasts for arctic weather over the Great Plains early next week. Wholesale weakness seemed to cap early Friday gains, but the midday data proved quite supportive, thereby opening the door to a fresh CME advance. February cattle futures rallied 0.67 cents to 136.30 cents/pound at their Friday settlement, while April futures moved up 0.77 to 136.57. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures jumped 1.10 cents to 168.10 cents/pound, and May surged 0.75 to 169.70.

Cash and wholesale weakness undercut hog futures Friday. CME hog prices recovered from surprising late-December weakness Thursday, due in part to midsession reports indicating substantial cash and wholesale strength. However, the Thursday afternoon reports and their midday Friday counterparts proved much less favorable, which largely explains the week-ending decline. February hogs settled 0.40 cents lower at 86.67 cents/pound Friday afternoon, while June sank 0.07 to 101.00.

News of Chinese stockpiling seemingly boosted cotton futures to start the week. Although Chinese officials are moving away from their stockpiling program designed to support domestic cotton prices later this year, they are still buying fiber. Indeed, the latest report issued overnight indicated that those purchases have topped 5.0 million tonnes in the current crop year. That very likely sparked the early cotton advance. March cotton climbed 0.70 cents to 83.64 cents/pound just after sunrise in New York, while July cotton ran up 0.63 cents to 83.55.

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