Crop markets rallied on Ukraine-Russian news Monday

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Several factors boosted corn futures to start the week. A big South Korean company tendered to buy 193,000 tonnes of corn Sunday night. When combined with the Russia-Ukraine situation and snow over the northern Corn Belt (thereby implying continued planting delays), it was hardly surprising to see corn prices rise. The weekly Export Inspections report was also bullish. May corn closed 4.5 cents to $5.03/bushel Monday afternoon, while December added 4.25 to $5.035.

The Ukrainian news probably supported beans as well. Although neither Russia nor Ukraine is a significant player in the global soy markets, the wheat and corn gains resulting from that controversy apparently spilled over into the soy complex as well. Soy oil prices posted a belated reaction to the fact that Ukraine is also a major sunflower oil producer. Conversely, the Export Inspections data was rather poor. May soybeans gained 13.25 cents to $14.7625/bushel in late Monday trading, while May soyoil edged up 0.16 cents to 42.26 cents/pound, and May soymeal rallied $6.2 to 479.1/ton.

Russia’s threatened take-over of Ukraine sent wheat prices higher. It now looks as if Russia is planning to take over the whole Ukraine after having swallowed Crimea last month. The possibility of disruptions to the winter wheat harvest, spring wheat plantings and exports in that region rather obviously boosted. The Export Inspections report probably encouraged bulls as well. May CBOT wheat futures soared 18.5 cents to $6.7875/bushel at their Monday close, while May KCBT wheat futures leapt 22.5 cents to $7.42, while May MWE futures jumped 15.5 cents to $7.1725.

Cattle traders seemed uncertain Monday. Although wholesale prices plunged last week, feedlot operators forced beef packers to pay steady-firm prices for their fed cattle. That result, along with the large discounts already built into CME futures seemingly supported nearby Chicago prices to start the week, while deferred futures were mixed. June cattle futures inched up 0.12 cents to 135.90 cents/pound by late Monday morning, while December crept 0.10 higher to 140.27. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle rose 0.35 cents to 180.42 cents/pound, and August lifted 0.30 to 182.77.

Talk of reduced supplies probably powered Monday’s hog gains. Hog kills posted the past two weeks fell only modestly below diminished year-ago levels, but the shortfalls are likely to increase substantially during the second half of April. That prospect apparently spurred CME buying to start the week. June hog futures rallied 1.42 cents to 122.65 cents/pound Monday, while December ran up 0.40 to 89.85.

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