Ag markets diverged at Monday's close

Corn futures closed higher on Monday. Gains in wheat and soybeans were supportive. Weekly export inspections came in at 30.2 million bushels - on the high side of expectations. The corn market is working at making a harvest low with harvest winding down and demand improving. At the same time, the market is dealing with record large production along with rising stocks. Cash market is likely to lead the post-harvest recovery barring a round of fund short covering. December corn futures were 2.5 cent higher at $4.2475/bushel while May was 2 cents higher to $4.3925.

Soybean futures closed mixed on Monday with higher nearby contracts and lower deferred contracts. Losses in the crude oil markets seemingly added to the downward pressure on soybean prices. Sizeable export sales reported by USDA in the morning indicate demand is still strong, which supported the market. January soybean futures were up 9.75 cents to $13.2925/bushel; December soyoil dipped 0.50 cents to 40.66 cents/pound, and December soymeal surged $9.4 to $437.2/ton.

Wheat markets ended the day mostly higher. Low temperature might cause worries on winter crop damage, which supported the market. Trade estimate on weekly crop rating good-to-excellent was at 62%, down from 63% a week ago. December CBOT wheat futures gained 3.00 cents to $6.525/bushel, and December KCBT wheat futures gained 1.75 cents to $7.035, and December MWE futures edged up 1.5 to $7.0625.

Wholesale weakness seemingly offset stable cash cattle quotes Friday. Country cattle prices dipped Thursday, but the size of the decline was smaller than many anticipated. Conversely, beef cutout values fell rather substantially Thursday and were mixed at noon Friday. That slippage apparently weighed upon CME futures ahead of the Friday afternoon Cattle on Feed report. December cattle futures settled 0.02 cents higher at 131.47 Friday, while April futures sank 0.50 cents to 132.57. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle inched up 0.12 cents to 163.50 cents/pound, and March feeders added 0.10 cents to 163.37.

Hog futures traded mixed on Monday. Higher cash prices provided support for the hog market. Steady daily slaughter number combined with high hog weights limited the sustained gains. December hog futures fell 0.02 cents to 85.6 and February futures rallied 0.13 to 89.8