Ag markets are starting the week on a poor note

Favorable weather is once again depressing the crop markets. Grain, soy and cotton futures ended last week poorly as forecasts for favorable spring weather weighed on prices. It seems as if little changed over the weekend, since futures continued sliding Sunday night. Traders reportedly expect this afternoon's Crop Progress report to indicate the U.S. corn crop has essentially been planted and is in good shape. July corn slid 4.0 cents to $4.6175/bushel to start the week, while December lost 3.5 cents to $4.54.

The soy complex is also suffering the Monday morning blues. Talk that current U.S. weather is enabling farmers to get soybeans planted in a very timely manner seemed to drag CBOT soy prices downward as well. Traders also cited plentiful supplies of South American beans as weighing on old crop beans. Bulls weren't helped by the latest Asian news either, since declining palm oil prices are undercutting soyoil prices once again. July soybeans slumped 5.0 cents to $14.8825/bushel soon after sunrise Monday, while July soyoil dipped 0.07 cents to 38.43 cents/pound, and July soymeal sank $1.9 to $498.3/ton.

Weather and export news seemed to weigh on wheat futures Sunday night. Wire service reports indicated drier weekend weather had allowed new crop spring-wheat plantings to accelerate. Meanwhile, others reports highlighted the lack of competitiveness of American wheat at this point, due largely to the fact that the U.S. is one of the few regions where conditions are less than ideal. July CBOT wheat futures fell 6.5 cents to $6.2075/bushel early Monday morning, while July KCBT wheat tumbled 9.0 cents to $7.14 and July MWE futures dropped 7.5 cents to $6.99.

Profit-taking seemed to hit cattle futures last Friday. News that cash cattle were holding up surprisingly well sparked a big midweek bounce at the CME. Sustained wholesale strength was also encouraging. However, Thursday's late beef losses seemed to trigger bullish profit-taking before the weekend. June cattle sagged 0.22 cents to 137.80 cents/pound at their Friday settlement, while December stumbled 0.32 cents to 145.72. Meanwhile, lower feed costs boosted feeders. August feeder cattle stabilized at 197.05 cents/pound, and October rose 0.02 to 198.42.

CME hogs ended last week on a poor note. Hog futures closed rather weakly Thursday in response to big pork losses and mixed cash quotes. Country price looked weak Friday morning, whereas pork cutout rose modestly. But the 2014 contracts closed poorly, possibly due to suspicions that the widely anticipated seasonal rally won't happen quickly. June hog futures dove 0.95 cents to 113.35 cents/pound as the week's trading ended Friday, but December inched up 0.15 to 94.80.

Cotton futures are starting the week steady to lower. There was a dearth of cotton news over the weekend. That left the expiring July future virtually unchanged, whereas talk of much improved Texas moisture was apparently depressing new-crop prices. July cotton bounced 0.13 cents to 86.40 cents/pound in early Monday action, while December cotton stumbled 0.20 to 77.27.


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