Early FSA data release may be boosting the crop markets. General optimism about demand and fund buying reportedly boosted the corn market Sunday night. However, Friday’s apparent early release of FSA acreage data from farm programs is probably pushing prices higher as well, since the acreage total suggesting the USDA will cut its final estimate of harvested acreage (and supply) in January. March corn futures gained 3.75 cents to $4.1125/bushel early Monday morning, while July rose 3.5 to $4.25.
Soybeans and meal traded firmly Sunday night. The ag industry belief that outstanding demand for soybeans and meal will support prices going forward remains a big market factor. The apparent pre-mature release of the FSA data didn’t hurt the bullish cause either, since it also seemed likely to cause the USDA to cut its final acreage and production estimates next month. Meanwhile, last night’s Asian palm oil weakness undercut soyoil. January soybean futures rallied 6.0 cents to $10.5325/bushel in predawn Monday trading, while January soyoil slipped 0.05 to 32.31 cents/pound, and January meal moved up $2.5 to $369.5/ton.
The wheat markets are mostly higher as well. Although January data concerning wheat acres and production are less likely to be affected by the FSA data, the golden grain markets also moved upward to start the week. Wire service reports suggest Russian suppliers are aggressively pushing product onto the global market in an effort to get it sold before the Putin government imposes export restrictions. The latter factor may be encouraging bulls. March CBOT wheat edged up 1.75 cents to $6.0825/bushel Sunday night, while March KC wheat climbed 4.75 cents to $6.39/bushel and March MWE wheat added 3.0 to $6.2375.
Cattle futures posted a weak Friday close. News of sizeable cash and wholesale losses exerted fresh downward pressure upon cattle futures that morning. The nearby contracts staged a comeback around midsession, with the most-active February contract bouncing from 160.70 to around 163.00 at one point. However, bears dominated trading as the weekend loomed. Sizeable losses in afternoon cutout bode rather ill for today’s opening as well. February live cattle dipped 0.40 cents to 162.17 cents/pound at Friday’s CME close, while April slumped 0.70 to 161.40. January and March feeder cattle futures plunged the 3.00-cent daily limit to 225.60 and 221.25 cents/pound, respectively.
The hog and pork complex continued struggling last week. Wire service reports indicate cash hog prices were weak to sharply lower Friday morning, but pork cutouts actually posted a sizeable morning bounce. The late CME decline suggested cash quotes were weaker than earlier believed. Late pork quotes were quite strong, thereby suggesting a mixed opening, but slumping cattle futures may keep pressure on hogs as well. February hog futures ended Friday having fallen 1.10 cents to 83.25 cents/pound, while June hogs sank 0.70 cents to 91.15.
Early-week cotton gains seem technical in nature. The prematurely released FSA data (if correct) implied no change in U.S. cotton acreage on the January final report, which probably disappointed ICE market bulls. Still, the fact that the nearby contracts ended last week above the pivotal 60-cent level, as well as the Sunday night bounce in equity index futures, probably encouraged buying. March cotton futures advanced 0.48 cents to 61.02 cents/pound just after sunrise Monday, while the July contract lifted 0.32 to 62.10.