Reduced Russian/Ukraine tensions undercut grains overnight

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Tensions over Russia’s invasion of Crimea eased overnight; grains sank. Russian President Putin reportedly pulled back from pressing farther into Ukraine this morning, which greatly eased tensions in the region. Markets also reacted, with equity index futures soaring and gold, crude and the grains giving back much of Monday’s big gains. Traders are likely to remain focused on that region during the days just ahead. May corn slid 3.75 cents to $4.6675/bushel Monday night, while December declined 3.75 to $4.7275.

The soy complex proved quite mixed Monday night. Soybean and product futures rallied on South American news and the Russian/Ukraine situation to start the week, but beans and meal ended yesterday’s CBOT session moderately lower. Those markets bounced in overnight action, but soyoil prices set back from their Monday gains. Asian palm slippage seemed to weigh on the latter. May soybeans gained 6.5 cents to $14.1575/bushel early Tuesday morning, while May soyoil sagged 0.02 cents to 42.36 cents/pound, and May soymeal edged up $2.1 to $452.6/ton.

The wheat markets gave back a portion of Monday’s surge. The reduced tensions over the Russia/Ukraine situation and the diminished potential for problems shipping Black Sea wheat to the global market pushed wheat prices lower this morning. Also, the monthly state wheat condition ratings posted Monday afternoon probably declined less than many expected, which may have limited futures losses. May CBOT wheat futures sank 8.0 cents to $6.235/bushel in early Tuesday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures dropped 7.25 cents to $6.9275, and May MWE futures slumped 5.5 to $6.67.

Cattle futures continued trading mixed early Tuesday morning. CME traders were seemingly confused about short-term cattle and beef price prospects after last week’s big surge. Beef cutout leapt higher, but that apparently did little to support CME futures, despite the sizeable discounts built into them. That pattern largely persisted overnight. April cattle futures advanced 0.17 to 144.30 cents/pound as Tuesday dawned over Chicago, while August was flat at 133.25. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle inched up 0.05 to 173.12 cents/pound, but August dipped 0.10 to 175.47.

Reduced cash and wholesale gains are weighing on hog futures. Sharp cash and wholesale gains have pushed hog futures dramatically higher lately, with the April contract testing limit-up levels in each of the past three CME sessions. However, Monday’s wholesale gains fell short of last week’s large additions, while cash prices were mixed. That caused bullish traders to have second thoughts about premium CME futures. April hogs tumbled 0.37 cents to 108.30 cents/pound early Tuesday morning, while June lost 0.45 to 112.30.

Cotton futures are mixed in early Tuesday action. It would have been easy to assume cotton would turn lower in concert with grain futures overnight, but that wasn’t the case. Actually, deferred futures slipped modestly, but the nearby contracts continued Monday’s advance. The large equity bounce implied by stock index futures is probably encouraging bulls in the fiber market. May cotton rose 0.23 cents to 88.56 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Tuesday, while December cotton slipped 0.05 cents to 78.48.

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