Crop markets slid prior to today’s big USDA reports. Comparatively dry weekend weather over the southern Plains powered big wheat gains Monday, but those markets joined the other crop markets in declining modestly Monday night. Traders were almost surely liquidating longs prior to the release of today’s USDA Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports. Corn seemed to suffer less, due in part to ideas that 2015 plantings will be relatively small. May corn futures slipped 2.0 cents to $3.925/bushel early Tuesday morning, while December declined 2.0 to $4.1625.
The soy complex posted across-the-board losses Monday night. As with the grain markets, today’s USDA reports could trigger big moves in the soy complex. Soybean and product futures have not performed particularly well lately, but traders probably suspect the Prospective Plantings result could prove bearish in the wake of considerable price firmness over the past 6-24 months. May soybean futures sagged 3.75 cents to $9.64/bushel in early Tuesday trading, while May soyoil sank 0.18 cents 30.31 cents/pound, and May meal skidded $0.8 to $322.4/ton.
The wheat markets set back from Monday’s highs. Growing suspicions that the winter wheat crop won’t live up to expectations in the wake of recent southern Plains dryness spurred strong wheat gains last Friday and again Monday. And while the winter wheat situation probably makes the golden grain markets less vulnerable to today’s report results, those still have the potential to cause big moves. Thus, overnight slippage wasn’t surprising. May CBOT wheat dipped 5.0 cents to $5.2525/bushel Monday night, while May KC wheat slid 3.75 cents to $5.725/bushel, and May MWE wheat lost 2.5 to $5.8825.
Cattle futures ended Monday mostly higher. Cash cattle prices climbed $2.0/cwt to around $165/cwt (cents/pound) last Friday afternoon, which triggered a strong Monday opening. However, last week’s late surge seemingly anticipated the cash gain, since futures turned sharply lower soon after the opening. Conversely, a late comeback left most contracts slightly higher at the close. Afternoon beef gains and sideways GLOBEX action suggest a firm opening today. April cattle futures settled down 0.12 cents at 162.50 cents/pound Monday, while August cattle bounced 0.32 to 150.27 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures fell 0.65 cents to 218.62 cents/pound, and August feeders sank 0.32 to 218.90.
CME hogs reacted well in the wake of Friday’s USDA report. The quarterly USDA Hogs & Pigs report was interpreted as being generally bearish. However, preceding futures losses apparently anticipated a negative result, since futures closed unanimously higher Monday. The hog market atmosphere doesn’t seem promising, but is showing increasing signs of firmness after months of large losses. Afternoon cash quotes were steady-mixed, but GLOBEX strength suggested continued gains today. April hog futures crept 0.17 cents higher to 61.30 cents/pound as the CME pit session ended, while June advanced 0.55 to 75.55.
Cotton futures remain under pressure this morning. The cotton market seemed set to rise as today’s USDA Prospective Plantings report loomed, then suffered a surprising Monday afternoon drop. The breakdown seemed technical in nature, with bullish traders likely exiting positions ahead of today’s report. Futures suffered further losses overnight, but seem unlikely to move substantially prior to the report’s late-morning release. May cotton slumped 0.12 cents to 62.40 cents/pound just after sunrise Tuesday, while December futures edged 0.08 lower to 63.70.