Corn futures finished lower Monday. Favorable weather forecasts in Argentina calling for cooler temperatures and rain pressured futures today. However, this is not expected to reverse the overall dryness pattern and stress during pollination is still a concern, which limited losses. Also bearish were today’s export inspections, which came in at 15.6 million bushels, much lower than expectations for 29 to 33 million bushels. Adding pressure was the stronger dollar. March was 8 1/2 cents lower at $6.20 1/2 and May was 8 cents lower at $6.28 1/2.
Soybean futures ended lower Monday. Pressure stemmed from forecasts for improved weather in Argentina, which sent the market sharply lower. The crop has been stressed by drought, but cooler, wetter weather should bring some welcome relief. Adding to the losses were profit taking from Friday’s gains and strength in the value of the dollar. January was 23 1/2 cents lower at $13.70 1/4 and March was 24 cents lower at $13.79.
Wheat futures closed higher Monday. Prices pushed higher amid concerns about the U.S. HRW crop being stressed due to the lack of adequate snow cover in the face of very cold temperatures in the western U.S. Plains. Although temperatures were not low enough lead to winterkill, the already stressed crop did not need this. Flooding in Australia remains a problem, driving concerns about global wheat production. CBOT March was 11 1/4 cents higher at $8.05 1/2, KCBT March was 12 cents higher at $8.63 and MGE March was 7 1/2 cents higher at $8.89.
Cattle futures settled lower Monday. Futures tumbled on profit-taking following last week’s rally in the cash market to seven-year highs. Prices gained a lot of strength in 2010 and although the demand outlook is favorable, particularly with the pace of China’s recovery, traders are a bit hesitant to push futures much higher at this point. Tighter plant profits could also mean a cutback in packer demand. February was $1.38 lower at $106.98 and April was $1.25 lower at $110.95.
Lean hog futures closed lower Monday. Steep premiums of futures to cash led to profit-taking today after the April contract hit a new high last week. Cash markets are expected to be steady to slightly lower this week. Marketings are expected to be large enough to meet slaughter needs, although market ready numbers are expected to tighten this month. February was $1.78 lower at $77.98 and April was $1.33 lower at $82.55.
Cotton futures ended lower Monday. Prices fell as harvest progressed in India thanks to drier weather. This is allowing exporters to fill their orders, which is bearish for other exporters such as the U.S. India’s crop is forecast at a hearty 32.5 million bales, up from some estimates that had feared greater losses due to wet weather. March was 261 points lower at 142.20 cents and May was 131 points lower at 136.30 cents.