Corn edged higher again Tuesday. The fact that the U.S. dollar index reached its highest level since spring 2006 seemingly did little to dampen bullish ideas in the corn market. Traders apparently believe underlying demand strength will continue supporting prices, although CBOT futures also enjoy strong technical support at slightly lower levels. March corn futures gained 2.25 cents to $4.14/bushel in late Tuesday trading, while July added 1.75 to $4.285.
The soy complex ended mixed. Optimism about demand strength apparently continued supporting nearby soybean meal and bean prices Tuesday. However, the prospect of another record Brazilian crop and the rising U.S. dollar appeared to undercut the soy complex later in the day. Ongoing palm oil gains, as well as rebounding energy prices, boosted soyoil futures somewhat. Again, trading was light in pre-holiday action, with the nearby contracts benefiting from major technical support at slightly lower levels. January soybean futures closed up 0.25 cent at $10.385/bushel Tuesday, while January soyoil climbed 0.18 to 32.22 cents/pound, and January meal moved up $2.9 to $371.3/ton.
Talk of reduced Russian exports offered fresh support for wheat prices. There was little fresh news out of Russia today, but traders obviously believed the Putin regime will curtail exports and exaggerate the international need for grain. Futures sustained the gains into the close, in contrast to the ugly reversals posted last Friday and again Monday. U.S. dollar strength may have capped rally attempts. March CBOT wheat advanced 9.75 cents to $6.355/bushel at its Tuesday settlement, while March KC wheat ran up 7.0 cents to $6.6475/bushel and March MWE wheat rose 6.5 to $6.515.
Cattle futures struggled once again. Unlike the crop markets, cattle and feeder futures were bumping up against firm chart resistance Tuesday. Traders seemingly ignored big gains in beef cutout posted at midday. They apparently worry about reduced consumer demand in 2015. Seasonal factors may also working against bulls at this point. February live cattle slumped 0.22 cents to 160.60 cents/pound Tuesday afternoon, while April futures fell 0.60 cents to 159.62. January feeder cattle futures plunged 3.37 cents to 217.12 cents/pound and March feeders plummeted 3.70 cents to 215.27.
Pork strength supported CME hogs. Cash hog prices have clearly taken a seasonal tumble lately and continued sliding this morning. However, the ham market has not fallen as sharply as expected in the past few days, with pork cutouts proving surprisingly firm since late last week. Having the nearby contracts lead today’s advance may signal more of the same. February hog futures leapt 1.40 cents to 81.65 cents/pound at their Tuesday close, while June hogs rallied 0.57 cents to 89.65.
Cotton futures set back from midsession highs. With equity indexes hitting record highs Monday and again today, cotton traders view the demand outlook with considerable optimism. The fact that ICE futures penetrated major moving average resistance yesterday played a big role in early gains as well. But the late-session reversal could put a major damper on the bullish party as Christmas looms. March cotton futures ended Tuesday having fallen 0.22 cents to 61.82 cents/pound, while the July contract slipped 0.01 to 63.09.