Grain markets proved generally weak on Tuesday afternoon

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Corn futures continued their recent decline Tuesday. There was not a great deal of news concerning the yellow grain, but it was rather clear that the market was struggling with persistent indications of poor demand and improving weather forecasts. Prospects for slight improvements in South American conditions during the days ahead seemed particularly negative for futures. Deferred futures seemingly bounced in response to ideas that recent optimism about the 2013 corn crop was overdone. March corn fell 6.0 cents to $6.9625/bushel at the Tuesday close, while December advanced 4.25 cents to $5.63.

Soybean futures also declined Tuesday, thereby seeming to reflect slightly improved weather conditions over Argentine fields. The fact that the March future broke down below its 40-day moving average probably sparked selling as well. The new crop bean contracts also posted a surprisingly firm showing. March beans ended the day having fallen 10.75 cents to $14.2075 Tuesday afternoon, while March soyoil slipped 0.14 cents to 51.10 cents/pound, and March meal sank $2.7 to $410.3/ton.

Wheat futures moved decidedly lower in response to improving moisture conditions over the U.S. Southern Plains. Not only have parts of that region received significant precipitation lately, current forecasts are indicating increased chances for more of the same in the near future. March CBOT wheat futures tumbled 9.25 cents to 7.32/bushel at its settlement, while March KCBT wheat dived 10.5 cents to $7.78, and March MGE futures lost 9.75 cents to $8.16.

CME live cattle futures could not sustain their Monday bounce Tuesday. Although the most-active April contract seem set to sustain a sizeable advance after rebounding substantially from its eight-month low posted Monday morning, prices sank once again. That weakness very likely discouraged producers, who subsequently took packer bids around 123 cents/pound for their cattle; that represented a two-cent weekly drop. This seemingly bodes ill for the short-term futures outlook. April cattle lost 0.40 cents to 129.80 cents/pound at the end of the day, while August dipped 0.30 cents lower to 126.12. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle plunged 1.55 cents lower to 143.25 cents/pound, and August dropped 0.60 cents to 157.07.

Hog futures also moved generally lower in Tuesday action. Bearish expectations for the both the cash and wholesale markets seemingly dragged prices downward. The expiring February future inched upward to 87.25 at the close despite the fact that it will expire Thursday and the CME index is expected to be stated at 89.67 tomorrow. That pessimism rather obviously inspired little confidence about the spring-summer outlook, especially after the hog and pork complex performed quite poorly at the same time last year. April hogs ended the CME pit session having fallen 0.37 cents to 86.00 cents/pound, while June lost 0.52 cents to 94.25.

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