Demand concerns may be weighing on the crop markets. A lack of news kept the crop markets narrowly mixed Monday night. However, the equity markets turned sharply lower this morning, thereby seeming to reflect investor disappointment with Microsoft and Caterpillar earnings announcement, as well as the results of the Greek election. The crop markets have moved generally lower despite the concurrent drop by the U.S. dollar. March corn sagged 3.0 cents to $3.81/bushel late Tuesday morning, while July slumped 3.75 to $3.9625.
The soy complex saw competing announcements Tuesday morning. The USDA daily trade reporting system indicated that 111,000 tonnes of soybeans had been sold to an ‘unknown destination’; that news was accompanied by another item saying China had canceled a 120,000-tonne sale. Those developments seemed to render beans and meal vulnerable to the broad selling. Soyoil quotes found underlying support from the overnight bounce in palm values. March soybean futures fell 7.75 cents to $9.7575/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while March soyoil slipped 0.06 to 31.02 cents/pound, and March meal slid $1.4 to $337.5/ton.
The wheat markets were narrowly mixed around lunchtime. News of French market weakness seemed to limit rally attempts in early trading, despite persistent reports of conflict in eastern Ukraine. Weather and conditions conducive to improved winter wheat crops are also limiting bullish interest. Actually, given the Tuesday morning equity breakdown, the wheat markets’ stability was rather impressive. March CBOT wheat edged down 0.5 cent to $5.20/bushel in late morning action, while March KC wheat dipped 3.0 cents to $5.515/bushel, and March MWE wheat skidded 1.25 to $5.6775.
Cattle futures seemed to stage a technical bounce. CME cattle traders had apparently anticipated the big beef losses posted Monday afternoon, since the Chicago market opened firmly in the face of that news. The fact that futures rallied strongly from that point suggests the industry views the recent breakdown as being greatly overdone. Technicians probably jumped on the bandwagon as well. February live cattle futures leapt 2.05 cents to 151.87 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Tuesday, while April cattle jumped 1.92 cents to 149.92. January feeder cattle futures tumbled 1.00 cent to 210.65, but March feeders surged 1.45 to 201.42.
The stock drop may be limiting gains in the hog pit. Chicago hog prices rallied strongly again on today’s opening, thereby seeming to reflect renewed optimism about the short-term outlook. However, futures reversed shortly after the opening and gave back a sizeable portion of the early advance. We suspect the bearish demand implications of the stock breakdown discouraged bulls. February hog futures drooped 0.22 cents to 70.60 cents/pound around midsession Tuesday, while June hogs rallied 0.67 cents to 82.87.
Equity losses seemed to depress ICE cotton. Monday’s big cotton rally despite a general lack of news was impressive. However, bulls couldn’t sustain the move in the face of the big breakdown suffered by the equity markets. The concurrent U.S. dollar drop may have cushioned the blow. March cotton futures dropped 0.14 cents to 58.40 cents/pound shortly after noon (EST) Tuesday, while the July contract sank 0.27 to 60.03.