Resurgent bean, cattle futures boost the ag complex Monday

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Weather forecasts depressed corn prices Monday. A wide planting window this week seems likely to enable most corn farmers to complete seedings in short order. Moreover, moisture conditions seem quite favorable for early plant growth. Thus, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see yellow grain prices decline in today’s session. July corn dipped 6.25 cents to $4.7725/bushel at Monday’s close, while December slid 5.25 cents to $4.7575.

The soy complex rebounded Monday. The nearby July bean and meal contracts appeared to follow grain prices lower in Sunday night action, as did soyoil futures in following Asian palm values downward. However, beans and meal turned sharply higher by late morning, which probably reflected firm demand implied by the Export Inspections report. July soybeans surged 20.25 cents to $14.8525/bushel at their Monday settlement, while July soyoil tumbled 0.33 cents to 40.42 cents/pound, and July soymeal advanced $10.3 to $490.5/ton.

Bargain hunters seemed to boost the wheat markets. The Black Sea situation seems less tense to start this week, thereby causing U.S. traders to refocus upon bearish global wheat fundamentals and favorable U.S. spring weather. However, bears couldn’t force a follow-through drop, which in turn appeared to spur short-covering and bargain hunting later in the session. July CBOT wheat futures inched up 0.25 cent to $6.745/bushel in late-Monday trading, while July KCBT wheat futures rose 1.0 cent to $7.6875, but July MWE futures edged down 0.5 cent to $7.3875.

Beef gains may have triggered fund buying of cattle futures. Last Friday’s monthly USDA Cattle on Feed report looked generally neutral, but wholesale prices rose slightly. Beef quotes rose again at midsession Monday, which may have triggered a wave of buying from trading funds. Whatever the underlying cause, Monday’s CME advance was impressive. June cattle jumped 1.50 cents to 139.40 cents/pound as Monday’s CME session ended, while December climbed 1.67 to 146.45. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle soared 2.87 cents to 196.20 cents/pound, and October leapt 3.00 cents to 197.37.

Cash hog losses apparently limited concurrent CME gains. Although pork cutouts rose modestly last Friday and again this morning, cash hog quotes were suffering similar losses. Substantial premiums already built into CME futures probably limited buying, but it seemed obvious that strength spilling over from the cattle pit was also boosting hogs. June hog futures rallied 0.45 cents to 119.37 cents/pound in late-Monday action, and December gained 0.57 cents to 94.35.

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