Improving moisture conditions undercut crop futures at midday

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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. March corn had fallen 7.25 cents to $6.95/bushel by late morning, while December had inched 1.75 cent higher to $5.605.

Soybean futures also declined Tuesday morning. Firmness in the new crop 2013-14 contracts suggest CBOT traders were not very impressed with the increased precipitation being received by some areas of the Central U.S. this week. However, the moderate losses posted by the nearby contracts suggest the industry is adjusting its estimates of South American production upward in response to modest improvements in Argentina and Southern Brazil. March beans had fallen 7.75 cents to $14.2375 late Tuesday morning, while March soyoil sank 0.21 cents to 51.03 cents/pound, and March meal slipped $1.7 to $411.3/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 dropped had dropped 12.25 cents to 7.2925/bushel just before the lunch hour, while March KCBT wheat dived 11.75 cents to $7.77, and March MGE futures lost 11.0 cents to $8.15.

CME live cattle futures could not sustain their Monday bounce Tuesday morning. Although recent cash and wholesale news was not very supportive, the most-active April contract had rebounded substantially from the eight-month low posted Monday morning, which suggested the market was due for a sustained advance. The fact that prices have given back the bulk of that bounce this morning seemingly bodes ill for short-term prospects. April cattle were trading 0.75 cents lower at 129.60 cents/pound late Tuesday morning, while August had tumbled 0.50 cents lower to 125.92. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle plunged 1.55 cents lower to 143.25 cents/pound, and August dropped 1.07 cents to 156.60.

Hog futures also moved generally lower in early Tuesday action. Bearish expectations for the both the cash and wholesale markets seemingly dragged prices downward. The expiring February future inched upward to 87.07 around mid-session, despite the fact that it will expire Thursday and the latest official quote for CME index was stated at 90.17. That pessimism rather obviously inspired little confidence about the spring-summer outlook. April hogs had fallen 0.60 cents to 85.77 cents/pound just before the lunch hour Tuesday, while June lost 0.77 cents to 94.00.

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