Corn prices slipped in Sunday night action. The corn market suffered a dearth of news over the weekend, but also seemed to ignore modest gains in the soy and wheat complexes. The fact that cold weather continues dominating the central U.S. would also appear to point to laggardly spring plantings, but that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar either. May corn futures dipped 1.75 cents to $3.915/bushel early Monday morning, while December slid 1.25 to $4.1625.
Brazil’s weekend crackdown on striking truckers didn’t encourage soy traders. Brazilian officials cracked down on striking truckers blocking most highways over the weekend, which seems likely to get soybeans flowing to their ports once again. Futures declined in overseas markets as a consequence, but are trading slightly higher this morning. Soyoil is rather clearly following palm oil quotes higher, but meal remains weak. May soybean futures rallied 1.5 cents to $10.3325/bushel Sunday night, while May soyoil surged 0.32 cents to 33.27 cents/pound, but May meal slipped $0.5 to $341.9/ton.
Winterkill worries continue supporting the wheat markets. The wheat markets ended last week firmly in response to concerns about the damage potentially being done to winter wheat by arctic temperatures in the western Plains. Those fears were apparently not alleviated over the weekend, since the Kansas City market led the way higher to start this week’s trading. May CBOT wheat gained 1.25 cents to $5.1425/bushel early Monday action, while May KC wheat ran up 5.0 cents to $5.445/bushel, and May MWE wheat rose 1.0 to $5.675.
Cattle futures closed strongly Friday afternoon. Cattle futures rallied strongly early last week as beef prices surged. Stalled cutouts undercut prices Thursday afternoon and again Friday morning, but renewed strength seen at midday apparently spurred April buying. One has to wonder if traders were shifting long positions from the expiring (at noon) February contract into April, since Feb. dove and April surged. The strong close suggests a strong to this week’s trading as well. April cattle futures leapt 1.90 cents to 151.70 cents/pound in late Friday trading, while August cattle gained 0.25 cents to 142.05 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures jumped 1.60 cents to 201.90 cents/pound but May feeders slipped 0.05 to 198.87.
Rebounding pork values enabled CME hogs to firm Friday. After surging sharply early last week, cash hog prices turned lower Friday morning. Conversely, last week’s surprising pork breakdown seemed to end. The wholesale weakness apparently undercut CME futures Thursday, so it wasn’t terribly surprising to see the Chicago market firm Friday. Indeed, Friday’s big pork gains suggest a bullish follow-through this morning. April hog futures closed 0.32 cents higher at 67.47 cents/pound Friday, while June hogs rose 0.25 to 82.87.
Commitments data may be undercutting cotton to start the week. Cotton futures seemed set to accelerate its recent rally late last week, but ran out of steam Thursday. Bullish profit-taking apparently undercut prices Thursday afternoon and again Friday. The only real news that has emerged since Friday’s close was the CFTC Commitments of Traders report, which indicated bullish speculators had substantially increased their long positions. That suggested they were overcommitted to the long side and seemingly sparked this week’s early selling. May cotton fell 0.63 cents to 64.30 cents/pound shortly after sunrise Monday, while December futures dropped 0.63 to 65.22.