Weak financial markets may be undercutting commodity prices

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Corn futures skidded despite supporting export news. Little fresh news concerning the corn market emerged over the weekend, so futures moved little Sunday night. However, an early-morning report of a sizeable sale was followed by a good number on the weekly Export Inspections report. Still, corn futures seemed to follow wheat lower. March corn inched down 1.0 cent to $4.285/bushel around midsession Monday, while May lost 1.5 to $4.345.

Export news apparently boosted nearby bean futures Monday morning. The recent onset of what’s expected to be a record Brazilian harvest depressed soybean future to start the week. However, news of sizeable export sale and a strong result on the Export Inspections report boosted the nearby bean and meal contracts. Fresh weakness in the Asian palm oil market once again dragged soyoil values lower. March soybeans gained 4.75 cents to $12.895/bushel by late Monday morning, while March soyoil dove 0.44 cents to 37.10 cents/pound, and March soymeal climbed $5.6 to $431.3/ton.

Shifting weather forecasts may have undercut the wheat markets. Forecasts for arctic weather over the Midwest, along with news of a massive Saudi Arabian purchase, seemed to boost wheat futures in Sunday night action. However, the latest models indicate the coldest temperatures are now expected farther east, thereby suggesting much less danger of freeze damage during the days just ahead. The Export Inspections data wasn’t helpful either. Thus, wheat prices have backed away from early highs. March CBOT wheat futures edged 0.25 cent lower to $5.65/bushel in late Monday morning trading, while March KCBT wheat futures slid 3.0 cents to $6.2425, and March MWE futures slumped 4.75 to $6.0825.

Cattle futures are trying to consolidate above chart support. Spiking cash and wholesale prices sent cattle futures soaring through mid-January, but a reversal in beef prices caused sharp losses last Thursday and Friday. Futures continued their dive in early-week trading, but bounced from technical support by late Monday morning. As usual, much depends upon forthcoming cash and wholesale news. February cattle futures tumbled 0.67 cents to 142.72 cents/pound just before lunchtime Monday, while the April contract sagged 0.12 to 139.97. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle slipped 0.15 cents to 168.72 cents/pound, and May skidded 0.12 to 170.07.

The nearby hog contracts diverged Monday morning. News of last week’s comparatively large hog slaughter total seemingly renewed concerns about short-term price prospects. Conversely, traders very likely believe the spring-summer situation will be much tighter, which partially explains the firmness exhibited by those contracts to start the week. February hogs sank 0.52 cents to 85.85 cents/pound late Monday morning, while June added 0.02 to 102.37.

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