Corn futures followed soybeans higher Tuesday morning. Talk of rain delays to Brazil’s soy harvest and shipping difficulties stemming from a trucker strike in that country are supporting U.S. bean and grain prices. Traders also cited slow U.S. farmer sales as supportive for corn. Nearby futures still face significant overhead resistance. March corn futures gained 4.0 cents to $3.8475/bushel late Tuesday morning, while July added 4.0 to $3.985.
The soy complex surged across the board. Brazil’s trucker strike is reportedly preventing beans and grain from reaching that country’s ports. Meanwhile, recent rainfall is also delaying the harvest, thereby further tightening supplies available for quick export. That may persuade importers to look to the U.S. for supplies in the near term. The fact that nearby bean futures penetrated 40-day moving average resistance last night gives the rally a big technical component as well. March soybean futures jumped 23.25 cents to $10.225/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while March soyoil bounced 0.34 cents to 31.48 cents/pound, and March meal surge $9.5 to $357.8/ton.
The wheat markets have also moved generally higher. U.S. wheat prices still look quite high by international standards and sales seem weak, but that hasn’t prevented futures from edging upward today. As with corn, wheat seems to be following beans higher. Traders also seem to be worried about freeze damage to the U.S. winter wheat crop as arctic air dominates the nation’s midsection. March CBOT wheat edged up 3.5 cents to $5.0925/bushel as the lunch hour loomed Tuesday, while March KC wheat rose 6.0 to $5.3725/bushel, but March MWE wheat slipped 1.75 to $5.66.
Cattle continue worrying about short-term prospects. Cattle supplies are tight and getting tighter on a seasonal basis. Moreover, demand should improve as grilling season looms. Nevertheless, traders worry that beef is simply too expensive and will suffer from poor demand as a consequence. Nearby futures have slipped to fresh lows, despite big discounts to cash. April cattle futures sank 0.32 cents to 146.77 cents/pound in late Tuesday morning trading, while August cattle slid 0.37 cents to 138.75 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures plunged 1.32 cents to 196.75 cents/pound and May feeders dove 0.97 to 195.65.
Rebounding cash quotes are supporting hog futures. After having stabilized last week, cash hog prices are clearly working higher at this point. That news is supporting nearby futures despite their premiums to current quotes. Conversely, the size of the differences may be limiting upside potential for the CME market in the short term. April hog futures advanced 0.30 cents to 68.62 cents/pound shortly before lunchtime Tuesday, while June hogs lifted 0.42 to 82.82.
Tightening stocks are encouraging cotton bulls. Although the short-term cotton supply situation seems well supplied, the quantity available for delivery against expiring March futures declined significantly Monday. That news, along with today’s equity index strength, is apparently squeezing ICE cotton shorts and powering prices upward. The most-active May contract also bounced from support associated with its 10-day moving average. March cotton advanced 0.74 cents to 65.49 cents/pound just before noon (EST) Tuesday, while the July contract climbed 0.89 to 65.31.