Corn futures ended lower Monday. The market was weighed down by favorable rains in the central production region of Brazil. Also bearish was the stronger dollar and weaker stock market today. Adding to weakness has been the uncertainty about demand as lawmakers determine whether or not to extend the ethanol tax credit. Limiting losses was news of a large export sale of 116,000 metric tons to an unknown destination. Weekly export inspections came in at 25.2 million bushels. March was 5 1/2 cents lower at $5.68 and May was 4 1/4 cents lower at $5.76 1/4.


Soybean futures closed lower Monday. Prices slipped as the central grain production region of Brazil received rain that should be favorable for the crop. Adding pressure were today’s stronger dollar and weakness in the stock market. Losses came despite strong demand out of China and news of a huge soybean sale and a large soybean oil sale. Weekly inspections were down at 33.5 million bushels, but this number will likely be revised much higher next week and therefore holds little significance. January was 11 3/4 cents lower at $12.88 1/2 and March was 11 3/4 cents lower at $12.95 1/4.


Wheat futures finished higher Monday. Crop concerns continue to be the key drivers in the wheat market, with excess rain in Australia and a lack of rain in the western U.S. Plains. Australia’s wheat crop is suffering severely, with much of it expected to be reduced to feed quality. Adding support was news of a large export sale of 160,000 metric tons to an unknown destination. Weekly export inspections were 19.2 million bushels. CBOT March was 14 cents higher at $7.93, KCBT March was 14 3/4 cents higher at $8.36 3/4 and MGE March was 15 cents higher at $8.50 1/4.


Cattle futures settled mostly higher Monday. Futures were supported by talk of cash cattle prices pushing even higher this week despite expectations for activity to slow in the midst of the holidays. The choice beef pushed to a 3-month high of $164.02 on Friday, which helped keep futures strong. However, concerns that the beef market could be at a top for now kept a lid on futures. Gains were also limited by tightened packer margins. December was 20 cents higher at $103.50 and February was 5 cents higher at $106.43.


Lean hog futures finished strongly lower Monday. Weakness in the cash hog market weighed on futures. Much of this week’s needs have reportedly already been met, and processors are holding off on buying until later in the week. High pork production and concerns about slow pork demand once the holiday ham buying is complete are bearish factors. February was $1.33 lower at $76.35 and April was $1.23 lower at $79.05.


Cotton futures settled solidly lower on Monday. News that India will extend its export deadline of Dec. 15 to allow for orders to be met is bearish for the world cotton market, as traders had expected these orders to be cancelled. Profit-taking from last week’s rally added pressure after futures traded up the limit the latter part of the week. The stronger dollar was also bearish. March was 191 points lower at 130.43 cents and May was 320 points lower at 124.30 cents.