Grain,soy markets firmed Monday as livestock futures took big hit

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Export news proved mixed for corn futures Monday. Last week’s late news was dominated by strong export sales. Bulls got more encouragement from an announcement of another large sale early this morning. However, the weekly Export Inspections report disappointed and undercut prices. March corn ended Monday having risen just 1.75 cents to $4.3575/bushel, while May gained 2.25 to $4.4175.

Worries about South American logistics seemingly limited Monday’s soy gains. 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 strong buying. Bulls couldn’t have been happy with the Export Inspections report, however, since the total fell well short of forecasts. March soybeans closed 10.0 cents higher at $12.9275/bushel Monday afternoon, while March soyoil dropped 0.19 cents to 37.45 cents/pound, and March soymeal climbed $7.9 to $434.0/ton.

Short-covering reportedly boosted the wheat markets Monday. Little substantive wheat news emerged over the weekend, but prices at the various exchanges turned decidedly higher Monday. Wire service reports cited improving demand and widespread short-covering for the bounce. The wheat figure on the Export Inspections report fell short of predictions, but that seemingly did little to depress the markets. March CBOT wheat futures rallied 8.0 cents to $5.6375/bushel at their Monday close, while March KCBT wheat futures added 8.75 cents to $6.2425, and March MWE futures ran up 6.75 to $6.1075.

Weak cash and wholesale values undercut cattle futures. Although last Friday’s annual Cattle report seemed supportive of CME futures, late-week news of diving wholesale quotes and a decline in cash values sparked strong selling to start the week. Bulls have to hope early February brings fresh beef demand from grocery industry buyers. April cattle futures dove 1.02 cents to 139.40 cents/pound Monday afternoon, while August sank 0.22 to 129.60. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle plunged 1.42 cents to 168.00 cents/pound, and May tumbled 1.02 to 169.05.

Diving pork prices depressed hog futures as well. Although worries about a supply shortage offers some support for the summer hog contracts, nearby hog futures came under considerable pressure to start the week. Pork losses almost surely caused 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 1.95 cents to 92.85/pound in late Monday trading, while June dropped 1.27 to 103.55.

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