Hog futures diverged from flat-to-weak action in other markets

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Corn futures were mixed Tuesday night. Corn futures reacted strongly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula Monday and Tuesday, since the resulting disruptions to Black Sea grain trade could substantially reduce grain supplies available to the global market. Reductions in South American crop estimates also sparked buying. Traders now appear to be awaiting developments. May corn inched down 0.75 cents to $4.835/bushel in Tuesday night action, while December slid 2.0 to $4.845.

The soy complex also posted a mixed overnight showing. The Crimean situation also spurred buying in the soybean and product markets, but a big portion of Tuesday’s rise stemmed from reduced forecasts for South American crops. As in the grain markets, the soy complex was mixed last night, thereby suggesting traders are now awaiting events. May soybeans slipped 1.75 cents to $14.2125/bushel early Wednesday morning, while May soyoil sagged 0.30 cents to 43.41 cents/pound, and May soymeal declined $1.3 to $448.4/ton.

The wheat markets stalled as well. After setting back Monday night, wheat futures finished Tuesday strongly as traders reacted to the Russian situation and concerns about weather problems in other parts of the globe. However, traders seemed to be confused about what to look for from this point, as indicated by the narrowly mixed action in most ag markets last night. May CBOT wheat futures edged 1.25 cents lower to $6.4225/bushel around dawn Wednesday, while May KCBT wheat futures gained 0.25 cent to $7.0975, and May MWE futures steadied at $6.855.

Trading in cattle futures also seemed confused in early trading. The bulls market in cattle and beef prices continued Tuesday, with traders apparently expecting another cash market advance later this week. However, while the wholesale market climbed sharply yesterday, the size of the rise seemed modest when compared to recent upward leaps, which seemingly caused second thoughts among traders last night. April cattle futures rose 0.07 cents to 145.70 cents/pound in early Wednesday action, while August stabilized at 134.70. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle were unchanged at 174.35 cents/pound, and August sank 0.30 to 176.55.

Hog futures remained quite strong last night. Anticipation of tightening hog and pork supplies during spring and summer have apparently sparked panic buying in the cash hog and pork markets lately, which in turn sparked a stunning rally in CME futures. Prices rose more moderately overnight, with traders seemingly becoming aware that nearby futures are already forecasting all-time highs by mid-April. April hogs jumped 1.37 cents to 113.05 cents/pound early Wednesday morning, while June spiked 2.65 to 118.40.

An industry report seemed to depress cotton futures Tuesday night. Cotton futures rallied on a lower Australian production estimate and spillover equity gains Tuesday, then dipped overnight. The slide may have reflected some ICE profit-taking, but traders may also have been reacting to an International Cotton Advisory Committee report boosting its forecast carryout stocks for the 2014/15 crop year. They cited reduced mill demand. May cotton slumped 0.35 cents to 88.87 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Wednesday, while December cotton tumbled 0.21 cents to 78.60.

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