Corn futures are starting the week on a weak note. The market slumped late last week despite a strong result on the weekly USDA Export Sales report Friday morning. Wire service sourced blamed the record U.S. harvest and active soybean/corn spreading. Those same factors could be in play today. March corn futures slipped 1.5 cents to $4.23/bushel Sunday night, while May slid 1.75 to $4.31.
Soybeans continued their Friday advance in early Monday action. The weekly USDA Export Sales report topped forecasts, thereby proving quite supportive of the soy complex at the CBOT. And while prices didn’t exactly soar on the news, the gains were sustained into Sunday night trading. The fact that soyoil prices also rose despite Asian palm oil weakness indicates the underlying strength. January soybean futures advanced 7.25 cents to $13.25/bushel early Monday morning, while January soyoil gained 0.14 cents to 40.60 cents/pound, and January soymeal climbed $4.4 to $441.0/ton.
Production concerns appear to boosting the wheat markets. Argentine officials predicted their forthcoming wheat crop will fall well below expectations, thereby boosting prices last Friday. Forecasts for wintry weather over the U.S. Plains this week also supported prices. Those same factors probably prompted the follow-through strength seen overnight. March CBOT wheat futures rallied 4.0 cents to $6.7275/bushel in early Monday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures surged 5.25 cents to $7.145, and March MWE futures moved up 2.0 to $7.095.
Cash strength boosted cattle futures last Friday. After spiking upward in response to forecasts for frigid Great Plains weather this week, cattle futures rose much more modestly on Friday. That very likely represented a reaction to news of a $1.00 gain to $132/cwt (cents/pound) at the various country markets. The threat of wintry weather could continue dominating trading this week. February cattle futures settled 0.15 cents higher at 134.25 cents/pound last Friday, while April futures added 0.27 cents to 134.97. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle inched up 0.15 cents to 165.47 cents/pound, and March feeders ran up 0.52 cents to 165.67.
Hog prices firmed last Friday. Suggestions that cash hog prices have passed their seasonal lows probably supported the hog market late last week. Cash and wholesale quotes proved quite strong to finish the week, but the most important development may have been the modest rebound posted by the CME lean hog index, thereby suggesting the market is set to move higher. February hog futures edged up 0.10 cents to 90.57 cents/pound to end the week, while June rose 0.17 cents to 100.42.
Cotton futures dipped in early-week trading. Cotton futures rose rather strongly Friday despite what seemed to be a negative Export Sales report. One has to wonder if Thursday’s news that Chinese officials had sold about half of a tranche taken from official reserves encouraged traders looking for a smaller drawdown. Prices dipped this morning in seeming response to a report indicating 2013 Chinese buying for official stockpiles is running about 10% behind last year. March cotton futures fell 0.54 cents to 78.81 cents/pound just after sunrise Monday, while July cotton declined 0.50 to 79.80.