The corn market continued its recent advance. Although Monday’s USDA cut to its 2014 estimate of the U.S. corn crop, that wasn’t entirely unexpected, which limited the bullish CBOT reaction. Still, the smaller supply and talk of strong demand (Taiwan bought 50,000 tonnes of U.S. corn overnight) are providing persistent support for the yellow grain market. March corn futures gained 3.75 cents to $4.0575/bushel Monday night, while July added 3.5 to $4.2025.
The soy complex is rebounding from Monday’s big losses. Talk of record U.S. soybean stockpiles and huge South American crops apparently sent the whole soy complex lower yesterday. Still, numerous signs point to unrelenting demand, which might explain the overnight rebound. The rally in bean oil was particularly surprising, since both crude and palm oil prices declined last night. March soybean futures advanced 7.0 cents to $10.23/bushel in predawn Tuesday action, while March soyoil rose 0.16 cents to 32.76 cents/pound, and March meal edged up $2.3 to $343.5/ton.
Russian news boosted wheat futures. Yesterday’s reports were net bearish for the wheat outlook, thereby spurring selling at the various exchanges. However, Russian officials spoke of tightening their curbs on that country’s exports, while those in the industry complained about those already in place. Those developments, along with a Japanese tender for 500,000 tonnes, seemed to spur fresh buying. March CBOT wheat bounced 10.25 cents to $5.6575/bushel early Tuesday morning, while March KC wheat rallied 9.0 cent to $5.995/bushel, and March MWE wheat moved up 4.5 to $5.9975.
Beef strength seemed to boost cattle futures Monday. Pessimism about beef demand apparently undercut cattle and futures late last week. However, beef prices have proven surprisingly strong lately, which sparked Monday’s early rebound. Prices later set back once again, with the nearby contracts ending slightly lower. Persistent wholesale gains seem likely to boost prices on today’s opening. February live cattle futures skidded 0.15 cents to 160.45 cents/pound at their Monday settlement, while the April contract slipped 0.07 cents to 159.35. January feeder cattle futures jumped 0.97 cents to 223.40 cents/pound, and March feeders vaulted 0.75 cents to 213.30.
The hog situation seemed quite weak. Although hog and pork prices are likely to post a seasonal rally into mid-February, the markets continue struggling. The fact that last week’s hog kill topped the comparable year-ago figure by 3.5% probably spurred selling, as did sizeable midsession pork losses. It will be interesting to see if afternoon cash strength in Iowa supports prices on today’s opening. February hog futures ended Monday having plunged 2.37 cents to 76.65 cents/pound, while June hogs dove 1.70 cents to 87.50.
Cotton futures continued sliding overnight. Monday’s USDA reports seemingly reinforced cotton selling spilling over from the surprisingly negative reversal suffered earlier by the equity indexes. The increase in the size of the 2014 U.S. production estimate appeared particularly negative. Still, underlying export demand seems robust, thereby providing support for fiber prices. March cotton futures slipped 0.18 cents to 59.56 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Tuesday, while the July contract sank 0.20 to 61.22.