Grain, livestock markets diverged Monday morning

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Export news boosted corn futures again Monday morning. Last week’s late news was dominated by strong export sales. Bulls got more encouragement from an announcement of another large sale this morning. The recent lift above technical support probably spurred buying as well. However, the weekly Export Inspections report disappointed and undercut prices. March corn rose 3.5 cents to $4.375/bushel Monday morning, while May gained 3.75 to $4.4325.

Worries about South American logistics seemingly offset large good news. Wire service reports indicate early Brazilian soybean yields are topping expectations; that caused early-Monday soy weakness, but talk of probable problems getting their crops shipped reportedly sparked fresh buying. Bulls couldn’t have been happy with the Export Inspections report, however, since the total fell well short of forecasts. March soybeans had advanced 12.5 cents to $12.9525/bushel by late Monday morning, whereas March soyoil dropped 0.21 cents to 37.43 cents/pound, and March soymeal climbed $9.1 to $435.2/ton.

Talk of strong demand boosted the wheat markets Monday. Little substantive wheat news emerged over the weekend, but prices at the various exchanges turned decidedly higher Monday morning. Wire service reports cited improving demand for the bounce. However, the wheat figure on the Export Inspections report also fell short of predictions, thereby causing a setback from mid-morning highs. March CBOT wheat futures rallied 3.25 cents to $5.59/bushel around midsession Monday, while March KCBT wheat futures added 4.5 cents to $6.20, and March MWE futures ran up 4.5 to $6.085.

Weak cash and wholesale values are undercutting cattle futures. Although last Friday’s annual Cattle report seemed supportive of cattle futures, late-day news of diving wholesale quotes and a decline in cash values sparked strong selling to start the week. Bulls have to hope the early February brings fresh beef demand from grocery industry buyers. April cattle futures dove 0.95 cents to 139.47 cents/pound just before lunchtime Monday, while August sank 0.25 to 129.57. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle plunged 1.05 cents to 168.37 cents/pound, and May tumbled 0.80 to 169.27.

Diving pork prices depressed hog futures as well. Although worries about a supply shortage are probably supporting the summer hog contracts, nearby hog futures are under considerable pressure to start the week. Pork losses are almost causing the CME weakness, since cutout fell sharply last Friday afternoon. Again, premiums built into nearby futures render them vulnerable to short-term weakness. April hogs plummeted 1.25 cents to 93.55/pound in Monday morning trading, while June dropped 0.70 to 104.12.


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