Weather news may be supporting the grain markets. The crop markets seemed to consolidate last Friday as traders squared positions before the weekend, but they traded higher Sunday night. Talk of intermittent rainfall this week and slower planting progress may have supported corn, but we wonder if buyers were also worried about the threat of frost in the northern Plains. July corn futures bounced 3.0 cents to $3.685/bushel as Monday dawned over Chicago, while December gained 2.75 to $3.855.
The soy complex also began the week on a firm note. After seeming to ignore last Friday’s impressive NOPA crush result, soybean and product futures started this week strongly. Bulls may also be reacting to talk that intermittent showers are going to slow bean plantings this week, whereas crude oil strength may be spilling over into the oil market. July soybean futures rallied 3.0 cents to $9.5625/bushel early Monday morning, while July soyoil rose 0.08 cents to 33.15 cents/pound, and July meal added $1.4 to $304.7/ton.
Talk of excessive moisture is again boosting the wheat markets. Large areas of the Great Plains received plentiful rainfall over the weekend, which seemingly exacerbated fears of emerging crop problems due to soggy conditions. The rain was probably good for spring wheat in the northern Plains, but the northern tier of states faces some frost threats this week. July CBOT wheat futures climbed 7.5 cents to $5.185/bushel soon after sunrise Monday, while July KC wheat surged 8.5 cents to $5.505/bushel, and July MWE wheat advanced 7.5 to $5.6875.
Packer moves seemed to spark Friday’s CME cattle losses. Beef packers reportedly lowered their bids for country cattle Friday morning and apparently took significantly less for wholesale beef as well. Those developments apparently triggered active selling upon the CME opening, with CME futures remaining under pressure through the day. However, southern Plains cattle traded at steady prices Friday afternoon, which may bode well for today’s opening. June live cattle futures ended Friday having dropped 1.27 cents to 152.52 cents/pound, while August cattle tumbled 1.27 to 150.80. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures sank 0.55 cents to 218.40 cents/pound, and November feeders lost 0.75 to 215.55.
Hog futures bounced from midmorning lows. The cash hog and wholesale pork markets lost their upward momentum last week, with nearby futures proving unable to follow through significantly upon their early-week advance. Thus, Friday’s early drop wasn’t very surprising, especially after 10-day moving-average support failed. Conversely, bears couldn’t force the nearby June contract under solid support around 82.00 cents, which in turn seemed to trigger the late comeback. Afternoon reports of cash strength could support today’s opening. June hog futures stumbled 0.60 cents to 83.35 cents/pound at Friday’s CME settlement, while December bounced 0.27 to 69.95.
Cotton futures turned downward over the weekend. Little real news concerning the cotton outlook emerged over the weekend, but that didn’t keep bears from selling rather aggressively to start this week’s action.
Technical factors probably played a role in the drop, but one has to wonder if traders expect this afternoon’s USDA Crop Progress report to indicate a strong planting pace last week. July cotton slumped 0.72 cents
to 66.12 in early Monday trading, while December futures dropped 0.80 to 66.02.