Grain, soy markets lead ag futures higher Monday morning

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Weather forecasts last week implied a significant window for planting corn in early May. However, the latest reports were not as encouraging, thereby sparking a major surge in corn futures Monday morning. The weekly USDA Export Inspections report seemed neutral, since the latest result, at 11.576 million bushels, essentially matched industry expectations. May corn spiked 35.5 cents to $6.795/bushel Monday morning, while December leapt 30.5 cent to $5.545.

Persistently tight spot markets and the strong basis apparently boosted nearby soybean futures Monday morning. The fact that the weekly Export Inspections total, at 8.935 million bushels, slightly exceeded expectations (in the 4.0-8.0 mib range) probably sparked some additional buying. Ideas that acreage could shift to beans from corn limited deferred gains, whereas Asian vegetable oil prices slipping over the weekend likely undercut the soyoil market. May soybeans jumped 32.75 cents to $14.635/bushel around mid-session Monday, while May soyoil fell 0.30 cents to 49.36 cents/pound; May soybean meal added $10.0 to $427.9/ton.

Talk that spring wheat plantings could also be substantially delayed, as well as concerns about the viability of the winter wheat crop in light of recent frosts (and forecasts for more of the same later this week) boosted wheat futures Monday morning. The Export Inspections report seemed bullish, since the latest result, at 30.857 mib easily topped forecasts. Strength spilling over from the corn and bean pits likely boosted prices as well. May CBOT wheat futures surged 23.25 cents to $7.12/bushel just before lunchtime Monday, while May KCBT wheat climbed 18.0 cents to $7.745 and May MGE futures advanced 17.25 cents to $8.285.

Cattle futures rose moderately Monday morning as traders seemed to anticipate continued cash market strength through early May. The sizeable export total on the weekly comprehensive beef report probably encouraged buying as well. Furthermore, the early-week combination of equity index gains and U.S. dollar weakness holds supportive demand implications. Feeder future fell in response to the prospect of increased feed costs implied by the grain/soy gains. June cattle rose 0.42 cents to 123.02 cents/pound late Monday morning, while December climbed 0.27 cents to 128.27. May feeder cattle futures dove 1.17 cents to 140.62 cents/pound, and August tumbled 1.30 cents to 149.87.

Although hog traders began the week looking for seasonal gains in hog pork values in the short run, CME futures had turned downward by late morning. Having the preliminary quote for the Friday CME lean hog index come in 1.00-cent higher, at 82.42 cents/pound, seemed quite supportive, but bullish traders may have been looking for a larger increase. The early setback from chart resistance in the 93.00-cent area may also have triggered technical selling. May hog futures edged 0.15 cents lower to 89.20 cents/pound around midday Monday, and the June contract fell 0.27 cents to 92.25.

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