Spiking cotton futures contrasted with limit-down hog losses

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Chinese rejections undercut corn prices Tuesday. Corn futures seemed likely to test overhead resistance after yesterday’s rally, but overnight news that China had rejected a fresh set of yellow grain shipments stifled those ideas. Traders were also reported to be reacting to forecasts for much warmer weather over the central U.S. this weekend, which might signal a quick start to spring plantings. May corn closed 3.5 cents lower at $4.865/bushel Tuesday, while December sagged 1.5 to $4.8625.

The soy complex proved generally firm in Tuesday action. Little news concerning soybeans or meal emerged Monday night or Tuesday morning. Asian palm markets rebounded from recent lows, thereby providing intermittent support for soyoil futures. An industry forecast for a relatively small increase in U.S. plantings this spring supported deferred futures. May soybeans bounced 2.0 cents to $14.275/bushel as Tuesday’s session ended, while May soyoil dropped 0.10 cents to 40.74 cents/pound, and May soymeal gained $1.7 to $463.7/ton.

Talk of continued dryness didn’t keep the wheat markets from sliding. The latest weather forecasts are pointing to persistent dryness over the southern Plains into early April. Wheat futures tried to build upon Monday’s big surge as a consequence, but the afternoon Crop Progress reports apparently indicated better conditions than many expected. Futures may also have been reacting to forecasts for spring wheat seedings on next Monday’s USDA report. May CBOT wheat futures fell 6.25 cents to $7.0825/bushel at Tuesday’s close, while May KCBT wheat futures slumped 2.75 cents to $7.9175 and May MWE futures were flat at $7.63.

The cattle market firmed in Tuesday action. Discounts built into nearby futures illustrate cattle industry concerns about short-term cash weakness, but yesterday’s resurgent beef quotes seemingly spurred renewed optimism in the Chicago pit. Early afternoon reports of steady cash action likely offered support. April cattle futures rallied 0.22 cents to 144.37 cents/pound Tuesday afternoon, while August gained 0.17 cents to 133.90. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle jumped 1.05 cents to 177.35 cents/pound, and August surged 0.52 to 179.45.

Hog futures suffered from technical selling. Country hog prices proved mixed Monday, as did pork values. Those certainly don’t mean the hog and pork complex won’t resume its recent price spike in short order. However, the suggestion that the market is losing its upward momentum rather clearly sparked active technical sales today. April and June hog futures plunged the 3.00-cent daily limit to 121.65 and 125.20 cents/pound, respectively, at Tuesday’s close.

The latest ginnings report sent cotton futures soaring. Cotton futures plummeted Monday in reaction to news that Chinese officials are planning to lower the floor price for cotton from their massive government reserve. Prices bounced somewhat in early trading, then rocketed upward in response to the latest ginnings data suggesting the U.S. situation is tighter than previously thought. May cotton spiked 3.38 cents to 94.01 cents/pound at their Tuesday settlement, while December cotton climbed 0.68 to 79.97.

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