Crop prices started the week generally lower

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Corn prices were mostly lower on Monday. Export inspections were a little better than they have been in recent weeks, but not strong enough to give the market much of a boost. Traders are expecting an uptick in farmer sales right before – or right after the new year. The March contract settled at $7.24 near the bottom of the trading range that has been in place for the last three months. New crop December was down 6 cents at $6.22.

Soybean prices were higher for much of Monday but closed mostly lower. Market fundamentals remain generally bullish, but no new news coupled with weaker corn and wheat prices put pressure on soybean futures. USDA announced an export sale of 151,000 metric tons to unknown destinations, but that didn’t provide much support. The January contract settled at $14.96 1/2 , up ½ cent. The March contract lost 3 ½ cents and settled at $14.88 ½.

Wheat futures were mostly 5 cents to 8 cents lower on Monday. Trade volume was light, which will probably be the case for most of the rest of the year. Export inspections were below the level needed to reach the USDA’s forecast for the year, which probably added to the generally bearish tone of the market. The March contract settled at $8.08, the lowest close since early July. The July contract settled at $8.27 ½, down 5 ¾ cents.

Live cattle futures settled with good gains on Monday. Futures were higher in part due to the strong cash cattle market that developed on Friday. Most contracts rose by between 75 cents and $1 except for December that jumped more than $2. The February contract settled 90 cents higher at $133.50. June was up 85 cents at $133.25. Feeder cattle futures also rose Monday with most contracts up by a little more than $1. The January contract settled at $154.25, up $1.18.

Lean hog futures settled lower on Monday. There was no new news to move the market, but traders are concerned about the longer term outlook for pork. There is also growing worries that pork production next spring and summer will be higher than previously thought because it does not appear that producers really cut back much in late summer and early fall. The June contract has declined by nearly $2 per cwt since the beginning of the month and the chart looks increasingly bearish. February settled at $84.75, down 65 cents. June was 60 cents lower at $99.25.

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