Grains are mostly lower

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Corn futures are steady to 3 cents higher this morning. After trading lower initially in the overnight session, corn prices turned higher. Weekend rainfall in Argentina will cause additional planting delays. After a dismal start, expectations for U.S. corn exports over the next several months are improving. However, the Ukraine agriculture ministry announced plans to begin shipping corn to China by the end of this year. The corn shipments are in kind payments for loans from China.

Soybean prices are trading 18-24 cents lower this morning, with futures falling 4 1/2 month lows. The weakness is tied to further long liquidation triggered by USDA’s higher-than-expected crop production estimate on Friday and expectations for large South American production. Needed rainfall totaling from 1-3 inches arrived over the weekend across northeastern growing areas of Brazil.

Wheat prices are 5-9 cents lower in early trade. Futures remain under pressure after USDA surprised the trade on Friday with lower global consumption and higher ending stocks. Similarly, USDA cut U.S. exports and raised projected ending stocks. The eastern one-third to one-half of the Plains received beneficial moisture over the weekend. However, western areas remain too dry and poor crop condition ratings reflect dryness. Due to the Holiday, winter wheat condition ratings will be delayed until Tuesday.

Live cattle futures are called steady this morning. Cattle slaughter last week was down 2.3 percent from the previous week, but was fractionally higher than a year ago at 631,000 head. Beef prices were lower on Friday on light volume. Weakening beef demand is seen holding cattle futures in check. At the same time, December futures continue to hold above chart support levels at $124 and $124.50.

Lean hog futures are called steady to higher this morning. Hog futures should garner support from weakness in the soy complex. Futures climbed to multi-month highs on Friday as hog futures continued their advance. Pork production edged up fractionally last week from both the previous week and a year ago at 482.8 million pounds. However, after the sharp rally in recent days, lean hog futures are technically overbought and due for a correction lower.

Cotton futures are trading higher. The cotton market shrugged off USDA’s larger-than-expected U.S. crop production figure on Friday and pushed higher instead. Futures continue to gather support early Monday on ideas that China’s higher support prices will underpin the global market. Also, Friday’s Commitment of Trader report indicated that trading funds already aggressively sold positions ahead of the USDA report leaving their net position about neutral.

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