Corn futures continued sagging Monday night. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report indicated had advanced 9% last week and was 89% complete as of Sunday. That marked impressive progress for this time of year and seemed to extend recent weakness. December futures are priced just over short-term moving average support, so bears may face a battle today. December corn futures stalled at $3.775/bushel early Tuesday morning, while May lost 0.5 to $3.975.
The soy complex is proving comparatively strong once again. The Crop Progress report stated last week’s harvest progress at just 4%, which fell short of industry expectations. Given that news and Monday’s late strength, last night’s broad soy advance wasn’t terribly surprising. January soybean futures gained 3.5 cents to $10.3975/bushel in early Tuesday action, while December soyoil rallied 0.18 cents to 32.63 cents/pound, and December meal climbed $5.3 to $392.4/ton.
The wheat markets proved surprisingly weak. Grain traders seemingly expected the Crop Progress report to reflect freeze damage to young winter wheat plants over the weekend, but the USDA left winter wheat condition ratings unchanged. That news apparently undercut golden grain prices last night. December CBOT wheat fell 3.75 cents to $5.48/bushel Monday night, while December KC wheat sagged 2.5 cents to $5.94/bushel, and December MWE wheat slumped 3.0 to $5.805.
Surging beef prices probably boosted cattle futures Monday. As expected, news that beef packers had paid up to $171/cwt (cents/pound) for country cattle last Friday afternoon sparked strong buying on Monday’s CME opening. Bulls later pushed prices higher in response to big midday gains at the wholesale level. Strong afternoon beef quotes seem likely to spark buying on today’s opening as well. December live cattle futures rallied 0.80 cents at 171.00 cents/pound as Monday’s CME pit session ended, while April futures gained 0.47 to 169.72. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle futures leapt 1.35 cents to 237.47 cents/pound, and March feeders jumped 1.05 to 235.65.
Talk of frigid weather and diminished supplies may have supported hog futures. Arctic weather over the northern Plains could slow hog and pork production, as seemed to be the case last week. Monday’s late spot market quotes seemed more supportive, but hog futures slipped in afternoon GLOBEX action. December hog futures ended Monday having risen 0.32 cents to 93.00 cents/pound, while April hogs moved up 0.25 to 94.10.
Cotton posted impressive gains Monday night. The cotton market has proven quite weak after the nearby contracts fell below the 60-cent level last week. However, the ICE market rallied substantially overnight in apparent response to news that the U.S. harvest had advanced just 7%, to 69% complete last week. The Texas harvest is particularly slow. It may be vulnerable to wet wintry weather. December cotton futures bounced 0.74 cents to 59.55 cents/pound shortly after dawn Tuesday, while March futures rallied 0.68 cents to 59.78.