Ag markets are starting this week in mixed fashion

Corn futures rose modestly in Sunday night trading in the face of generally negative developments. There was no real news concerning the yellow grain over the weekend, but equity weakness and dollar strength might have weighed upon prices in many circumstances. Thus, corn seems to be getting off to a good start this week. May corn gained 0.5 cents to $7.09/bushel early Monday morning, while December was unchanged at $5.5675

Nearby soybean futures were mixed to weak in early Monday morning activity. As with corn, there was little supportive news; wire service sourced cited bargain hunting for the strength. The fact that the most-active May contract was well supported by its 40-day moving average last week may be encouraging talk of a forthcoming push to higher levels. May soybeans slipped 1.0 cents to $14.425/bushel as the sun rose Monday morning, while May soyoil climbed 0.09 cents to 49.76 cents/pound, and May meal inched $1.0 lower to $428.4/ton.

Despite what seemed to be supportive news over the weekend, wheat futures began this week futures rather poorly. For example, India announced that it had turned down bids for grain it was looking to export, while Saudi Arabia stated that it had filled its import tender of 565,000 tonnes from six international suppliers. Ultimately, having U.S. winter wheat areas get such good moisture over the previous 10 days, as well as the advent of another system crossing the Plains today may be weighing upon the market. May CBOT wheat futures dipped 5.25 cents to $7.1525/bushel in Sunday night trading, while May KCBT wheat fell 7.0 cents to $7.49, and May MGE futures dropped 3.75 cents to $8.015.

Cattle futures closed mixed last Friday after cash prices surged 3-5 cents to the 128-cent/pound area Thursday evening. Recent wholesale price strength almost surely supported futures as well. Having only the nearby contracts prove able to sustain modest gains in response to that bullish news is not encouraging. Traders may have to see much more of the same before they will be willing to push the Chicago market much higher. April cattle edged 0.17 cents higher, to 129.95 cents/pound at their Friday afternoon close, while August slipped 0.07 cents to 125.72. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle dropped 0.60 cents to 144.15 cents/pound, while August dipped 0.45 cents at 154.35.

Signs of cash firmness and the jump in cash cattle values supported CME lean hog futures Friday morning. However, late morning developments were not very friendly. Having bullish cattle traders prove able to sustain only a portion of early gains despite the rise in cash cattle and beef values also undercut optimism in the hog pit. Late news of cash and wholesale price weakness did not help the situation. As with cattle, bullish news may be required to keep traders from selling futures. April hogs rallied 0.15 cents to 81.12 cents/pound late Friday, while June ended the week having lost 0.17 cents to 91.37.

Weekend news out of China may have weighed upon deferred cotton futures Sunday night and Monday morning. Chinese officials indicated that they have sold over 500,000 tonnes of cotton since beginning daily auctions in January and plan to sell about 4.5 million tonnes in the weeks and months ahead. Indeed, that suggests they'll be selling through the end of the year. However, given the limited international impact of those sales, white fiber traders probably remain confident about the outlook. May cotton slipped just 0.10 cents to 85.30 cents/pound over the weekend, while December also lost 0.08 cents to 85.06.