Corn futures started the week on a soft note. Ongoing rains over parts of the Corn Belt and improved weather forecasts for the central U.S. seemed to weigh upon corn future Sunday night. Traders reportedly expect late-week dryness to allow a big surge in plantings. Early losses were likely limited by soy and wheat firmness, as well as a favorable result on the weekly Export Inspections report. May corn slumped 3.5 cents to $4.9825/bushel Monday morning, while December lost 3.5 to $5.0325.

Export news is probably supporting the soy complex. A quick start to Midwest corn plantings could boost bean prices, since that might limit the bean seedings that follow. But the latest export news may be a bigger today. The USDA announced a sizeable bean sale to China for next year, and the Export Inspections result topped forecasts. May soybeans turned 0.5 cent lower to $14.7325/bushel just before lunchtime Monday, while May soyoil skidded 0.14 cents to 41.43 cents/pound, and May soymeal rose $0.2 to $479.3/ton.

The wheat markets posted modest gains in early-week action. The latest weather forecasts appear less promising for western and southern Plains moisture when compared to those for the Midwest. That may explain the sizeable gains posted by the various wheat markets Sunday night. The Export Inspections report also seemed rather bullish. May CBOT wheat futures edged up 0.25 cent to $6.70/bushel late Monday morning, while May KCBT wheat futures added 0.75 cent to $7.345, but May MWE futures dipped 1.75 cents to $7.1975.

Cattle futures probably reflected last week’s cash weakness. Although the cattle market suffered from concerns about cash weakness last week, the fact that prices did drop substantially late Friday afternoon probably accounts for the weakness seen this morning. Traders probably worry about more of the same during the days and weeks just ahead. June cattle futures fell 0.30 cents to 134.40 cents/pound around midsession Monday, while December inched up 0.10 to 138.95. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle sank 0.62 cents to 177.90 cents/pound, and August tumbled 0.47 to 179.75.

Discounts built into hog futures are probably attracting buying. It now seems rather evident that the hog and pork industry expects a substantial decline from the stunning price rally posted over the past six weeks. However, last week’s late losses pushed the various contracts substantially below the latest quote for the CME index. That difference is probably spurring speculative buying. June hog futures had slipped 0.17 cents to 120.37 cents/pound in late Monday morning trade, while December lifted 0.35 to 89.45.