Corn futures ended mixed on Tuesday. May and July futures were lower while December held on to modest gains. Early strength in old-crop corn faded as funds continued to unwind long positions and there was no confirmation of rumored Chinese buying interest. USDA’s Crop Progress report is expected to show planting progress as high as 20% compared to the ten-year average of 7%. May corn settled 6 1/2 cents lower at $6.16 3/4. The December contract was 3 1/2 cents higher at $5.29 3/4.
Soybean futures settled higher on Tuesday. USDA announced sales of 110,000 tonnes of old-crop soybeans. After two days of selling, buyers emerged to snap up beans. Early harvest reports out of Argentina were turning out disappointing yields from the northern part of the country. The news found some traders speculating that the Argentine crop might be as small as 40 million tonnes compared to the official USDA forecast at 45 mmt. May futures closed 5 3/4 cents higher at $14.25 3/4 while November gained 5 1/2 cents at $13.55 1/2.
Wheat futures closed mixed on Tuesday. The KCBT erased most of its midsession gains to close only slightly higher. Meanwhile, at the CBOT, nearby contracts erased all gains to close lower, while deferred contracts managed to hold on for slight gains. MGE had the worst performance, solidly higher at midsession, but closing lower across the Board. The indecisive price action today stemmed from an early surge tied mostly to stronger outside markets, not bargain-hunting by buyers. And when the short-covering ceased, sellers gained the upper hand on improving weather prospects for nearly all major global wheat growing regions. CBOT May closed 3/4 of a cent lower at $6.15 1/2, while KCBT May closed 1 1/2 cents higher at $6.32. MGE May closed 7 cents lower at $8.08 1/2.
Cattle futures were higher on Tuesday. The market was higher on ideas that that beef prices may have finally turned the corner. Beef prices were up sharply again at midday. If the gains hold, it marks the third consecutive day of higher beef prices. This is the first solid recovery in the beef market in the last six weeks and has traders thinking that the long awaited seasonal increase in beef demand may be gaining traction. June cattle futures settled 42 cents higher at $116.57. August was 62 cents lower at $119.65.
Lean hog futures closed mixed, but mostly higher Tuesday. Hog prices were all over the map, starting higher, turning lower, then rallying into the close. Pork prices were up a little on Monday, but not enough to have much impact on futures prices, and cash hog prices were lower again on Tuesday. The late-session rally was due in part to some profit-taking and strength in outside markets. May closed up $1.25 at $89.80. June ended at $89.78, a gain of $1.05.