Wheat, beans exceptions to the bullish ag rule Tuesday

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Slow planting progress supported the corn market Tuesday. The Monday afternoon USDA Crop Progress report showed spring corn plantings running well behind seasonal norms. Also, the latest forecasts suggest wet, cool weather will tend to limit or delay plantings even farther during the days ahead. May corn gained 7.75 cents to $4.9625/bushel at Tuesday’s close, while December rose 5.75 to $4.9575.

Trade talk undercut the soy complex. After posting surprising gains Monday night, soybean and product futures turned decisively lower Tuesday. Wire service reports blamed talk of increased bean imports from South America, as well as the potential for Chinese cancellations of previously scheduled U.S. deliveries and on rumors that Chinese officials will soon sell beans from state reserves. May soybeans dove 19.0 cents to $14.7975/bushel as Tuesday’s CBOT session ended, while May soyoil sank 0.26 cents to 42.74 cents/pound, and May soymeal lost $5.9 to $479.8/ton.

Renewed Black Sea tensions seemed to boost the wheat markets Tuesday afternoon. Although Monday’s Crop Progress seemed modestly bullish for wheat prices, futures had declined Tuesday morning. However, tensions in the Russia-Ukraine have reportedly escalated once again, thereby raising doubts about forthcoming supplies from that region. May CBOT wheat futures settled 4.75 cents higher at $6.73/bushel Tuesday afternoon, while May KCBT wheat futures added 7.25 cents to $7.4125, and May MWE futures moved up 5.75 to $7.2025.

Cattle traders may be expecting cash firmness. Tuesday’s Chicago strength reportedly reflected this week’s big bounce in beef cutout values, as well as sizeable discounts already built into CME futures. If beef strength causes packers to pay even steady cash prices later this week, spring-summer futures could start looking underpriced. June cattle futures climbed 0.42 cents to 134.97 cents/pound at their Tuesday close, while December rallied 0.77 cents to 140.45. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle ran up 0.25 cents to 178.35 cents/pound, and August advanced 0.37 to 182.27.

Hog traders are apparently anticipating seasonal strength. Hog and pork supplies are declining on a seasonal basis, so traders are starting to look forward to potential gains as buying for grilling season improves. Bears suspect prices are still too high to be justified by current fundamentals, but bulls won the pricing argument Tuesday. June hog futures leapt 0.90 cents to 123.25 cents/pound in late-day action, while December surged 0.87 to 88.87.

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