Corn futures closed lower on Monday. Pressure stemmed mostly from better than expected weekend rainfall of 1.0-3.0 inches across Cordoba, Argentina, an important growing area in central Argentina. Forecasts call for improved chances for needed rain over the next 1-2 weeks, particularly in central and northeastern Argentina, however, southern areas are expected be dry. Concern over U.S. corn and now DDG exports to China being rejected continues to weigh on prices. Weekly export inspections came in at 24.9 million bushels, on the low side of expectations. March futures are drifting lower toward a test of Nov/Dec lows near $4.20. The March contract was 4 cents lower at $4.235/bushel. May was also 4 cents lower to $4.3175, while December 14 settled 4.25 lower at $4.51.
Several factors weighed on soybean and product markets today. Improved weather prospects in Argentina reduced the concerns about dry weather damaging soybean crops. Argentina Rosario exchange has put the country’s soy production at 55 mmt for 13/14, exceeding December WASDE number by 550,000 tonnes. Weekly soybean export shipments were smaller than expected. However, talk of sizable export sales of soyoil to unknown destination reported from USDA’s daily system supported the soyoil market. January soybeans sank 3.25 cents to $13.2825/bushel Monday, while January soyoil skidded 0.40 cents to 38.62 cents/pound, and January soymeal gained $4.6 to $450.3/ton.
The implication of huge global supplies continued to weigh on the wheat prices. Russia’s Agricultural Ministry has raised its estimated 2013/14 wheat crop to 54.4 mmt, 2.9 mmt higher than USDA’s Dec WASDE estimate. Diminishing domestic exports also undercut the prices. However, Argentina Rosario Grain Exchange’s estimates on 13/14 wheat production at 9.5 mmt were 1.5 mmt below USDA’s December WASDE figure. March CBOT wheat futures declined 8.50 cent to $6.005/bushel Monday, while March KCBT wheat futures were down 8.50 as well to $6.3575, and March MWE futures dropped 4.50 to $6.3025.
Cattle futures closed higher on Monday. Cattle garnered early support from strength in hog futures in response to USDA’s friendly Hogs and Pigs report, but the early gains in hogs faded. Last week’s sharply higher fed cattle trade continued to provide support for futures. Beef prices were also sharply higher at midday which seemed to give cattle futures a late session boost. From a technical perspective, cattle futures have cleared a 2 ½ month downtrend resistance line drawn from the mid-October high. The February contract is moving to challenge that high at $135.45. February cattle futures closed .15 cents higher 135.10 with April .125 cents higher at 135.75. January feeder cattle were .275 cents higher at 167.275 cents/pound and March feeders were .15 cents higher at 167.95.
Hogs futures gave up earlier gains and turned lower on Monday. Although the quarterly USDA Hogs and Pigs reported the decline of overall hog population, the bullish implication to the market was muted by the cash weakness due to ample supplies indicated by the steady daily slaughter numbers. In the meantime, the demand of the pigs is slow as well. February hog futures were down 0.60 cents to 85.05 cents/pound in late Monday action, and June fell 0.375 to 99.875.
Cotton futures posted impressive gains on Monday although grain and soybean products markets were down. The depreciation of US dollars apparently powered the cotton prices upward. The seasonal holiday shopping may also bring some momentum to the fiber industry. The decision of discontinuity its cotton support program from Chinese authorities seemingly did not discourage the bulls either. March cotton added 0.54 cents to 84.66 cents/pound on Monday, while July cotton increased 0.50 cents to 83.92 cents/lb.