Corn futures were steady to lower Monday. May and July futures led the decline. Weakness in the outside markets, sluggish export inspections and profit-taking ahead of USDA supply and demand update all contributed to the setback in corn prices on Monday. USDA will release corn planting progress later this afternoon. Corn planting is expected to be off to fast start well ahead of the average 4% pace for this point in April. May corn settled 9 1/4 cents lower at $6.49 and December was unchanged at $5.50 1/4.
Soybean futures settled mostly lower on Monday. USDA issues its April Supply/Demand report on Tuesday morning. Key numbers include the ending stocks forecast where the trade expects a reduction toward 245 million bushels from 275 million last month. Some selling showed up on Monday from anxious bulls taking profits ahead of the report to book gains made since the release of the bullish planting intentions data on March 30. Global economic worries associated with Chinese inflation reports also set back prices for several commodities. May futures closed 3 cents lower at $14.31 while November gained 1/2 cent at $13.82.
Wheat futures closed mostly higher Monday. Frost threats to winter wheat subsided, which weighed on futures today. Weekly export inspections of 17.6 million bushels were up from the previous week and on the positive side of expectations. Trade was mixed but managed to finish with some modest gains as traders were positioning ahead of tomorrow morning’s Supply/Demand revisions for April from USDA. A drop in ending stocks is expected for wheat. CBOT May was 4 1/2 cents higher at $6.43; KCBT May was 2 cents lower at $6.60 and MGE May was 1 cent higher at $8.47.
Cattle futures ended mixed Monday. The cattle market was higher early in the session on follow-through from Thursday’s short covering bounce on ideas that futures are oversold and due for correction higher. Beef prices were also stronger at midday. However, weakness in the stock market and continued concern about lagging beef demand held gains in check. Selling pressure returned near the close and the early gains faded. June cattle futures were 5 cents lower at $115.77 and August was 10 cents lower at $118.37.
Lean hog futures closed mixed on Monday. Nearby contracts were a little lower while deferreds closed higher. The combination of the seasonal increase in prices at this time of year and the problems in the beef and poultry sectors has traders taking a chance on hogs. However, nearby contracts are already far above cash prices so most of the activity is in the deferred contracts. Lower farrowing intentions for this quarter suggest tight hog supplies by this fall and winter. The May contract closed down 23 cents at $94. June was up 8 cents at $93.60.