Crop markets started the week on a firm note

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Wheat strength seemed to boost corn futures Sunday night. There was little weekend news concerning corn, with traders most often citing harvest pressure as limiting short-term rallies. Nevertheless, prices rose moderately in early-week trading, which very likely represented strength spilling over from the wheat markets. December corn futures rose 1.25 cents to $4.4275 in early Monday action, while May futures added 1.25 cents to $4.635/bushel

The soy complex also seemed to gather support from wheat gains. As with corn, little fresh news concerning soybeans or meal emerged over the weekend. However, talk of palm oil prices at six-week highs and wheat gains apparently sparked buying in the soy complex as well. November soybeans rallied 2.5 cents to $12.9375/bushel Sunday night, while December soyoil climbed 0.23 cents to 41.91 cents/pound, and December soymeal edged down $0.1 to $410.0/ton.

Talk of strong export demand is supporting wheat futures. Although there were no major news flashes over the weekend, the wheat market continued reacting to buzz about vigorous global demand for the golden grain. Recent talk of an Argentine freeze, delayed Black Sea plantings and Chinese and Brazilian buying are reportedly powering the markets upward. December CBOT wheat advanced 2.25 cents to $7.08/bushel around dawn Monday, while December KCBT wheat surged 4.25 to $7.73, and December MGE futures ran up 3.0 to $7.6325.

Cattle futures proved surprisingly resilient last Friday. Live cattle futures took a stunning downward turn after cash prices matched their all-time highs Thursday. Despite sizeable midday wholesale losses, futures rebounded Friday afternoon. That suggests traders thought Thursday’s breakdown was overdone. December cattle futures ended last week down 0.25 cents at 132.02 cents/pound Friday afternoon, while April rebounded 0.15 cents to 134.65. Meanwhile, November feeder cattle slumped 0.05 cents to 166.85 cents/pound, and January was steady at 166.60.

The hog market declined rather sharply as last week’s trading concluded. Although the current situation still seems quite supportive of hog and pork prices, CME traders appeared to focus upon the market’s historical tendency for severe weakness late in the year. The midsession breakdown in pork values probably exacerbated those concerns. December hog futures fell 0.50 cents to 87.95 cents/pound at their Friday close, while April dropped 0.40 cents to 89.85.

Chinese news seemed to support cotton futures to start the week. Chinese officials announced Sunday night that the countries January-September cotton imports had fallen about 20% short of the year-ago total. In addition China’s Cotton Association forecast the country’s 2013 cotton crop at 6.93 million tonnes, which was unchanged from previous figures. Neither result is particularly impressive, but they seemed to find favor with ICE market bulls. December cotton edged up 0.20 cents to 83.31 cents/pound around sunrise Monday, while March bounced 0.22 to 84.54.

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