The crop markets traded rather weekly Sunday night. The ag industry is looking forward to today’s 11:00 AM CST release of several important USDA reports, including Crop Production, WASDE and quarterly Grain Stocks. Their potential for moving markets, as well as uncertainty about the results has traders adjusting positions beforehand. Corn futures are giving back a portion of last Friday’s gains. March corn futures slid 4.0 cents to $3.9625/bushel early Monday morning, while July lost 4.25 to $4.1025.
The soy complex is starting the week in mixed fashion. The looming USDA reports are probably limiting soy market moves prior to their late-morning release. Still, traders seemed to be cutting their long exposure in the bean and meal markets, whereas Asian palm strength is again supporting soyoil prices. Generally favorable South American growing weather may be undercutting longs as well. March soybean futures dipped 3.25 cents to $10.49/bushel in early Monday action, while March soyoil rose 0.02 to 33.70 cents/pound, and March meal skidded $1.3 to $347.8/ton.
Wheat futures remain generally weak prior to the reports. Little wheat news emerged over the weekend, so traders in those markets seemed to be reducing their bullish exposure. The elevated value of the U.S. dollar has seeming exaggerated the premium already built into American wheat prices. Few appear to expect bullish results on today’s report either. March CBOT wheat sagged 2.0 cents to $5.6175/bushel in predawn Monday trading, while March KC wheat slipped 3.0 cent to $5.975/bushel, and March MWE wheat moved 3.0 lower to $6.0025.
Pessimism about beef demand seemed to undercut cattle futures Friday. The cattle and beef supply situation is tight and will likely tighten seasonally through winter. Thus, it was hard not to blame pessimism about the demand outlook for the late-week breakdown in CME cattle and feeder futures. February live cattle futures plunged 3.00 cents to 160.60 cents/pound at last Friday’s close, while the April contract dove 3.00 cents to 159.42. January feeder cattle futures plummeted 3.20 cents to 222.42 cents/pound, and March feeders crashed 4.50 cents to 212.55.
Hog futures traded mixed Friday. The hog and pork industry continued looking for a seasonal low in cash and wholesale prices last week as well as a rally into mid-February. The fact that cash quotes remained stubbornly weak clearly discouraged swine traders, as did weakness spilling over from the cattle market. Intermittent pork strength apparently provided support. February hog futures ended Friday having climbed 0.85 cents to 79.02 cents/pound, while June hogs rose 0.20 cents to 89.20.
Cotton traders are also awaiting today’s USDA reports. Although one could argue that the weekend rebound by the U.S. dollar is weighing on cotton futures, others could answer by pointing out concurrent strength in equity index futures. But as in the other crop markets, the looming release of today’s various USDA reports is probably dominating trader thinking at this point. March cotton futures fell 0.31 cents to 60.45 cents/pound just after Monday’s New York sunrise, while the July contract slumped 0.31 to 61.98.