The crop markets traded mixed Tuesday night. Little news concerning corn was reported overnight, so the reason for the decline suffered by the yellow grain wasn’t obvious. We suspect the fact that nearby futures are bumping up against their respective 40-day moving averages is playing a role, as is the forthcoming release of the weekly EIA report on the energy sector. Energy sector weakness suggests widespread bearish expectations for petroleum products and ethanol. March corn sank 2.75 cents to $3.8675/bushel in early Wednesday action, while July sagged 3.25 to $4.0225.
The soy complex is trading mixed to lower. Talk of vigorous demand continues offering background support for the soybean meal market, whereas energy sector weakness is also weighing on soyoil (through its link to biodiesel). Bean futures seemingly stalled in the wake of Tuesday’s post-NOPA advance. News that the Brazilian crop is only 38% sold, versus 58% sold one year ago, may be weighing on prices. March soybean futures slipped 1.25 cents to $10.065/bushel Tuesday night, and March soyoil slid 0.07 cents to 32.25 cents/pound, while March meal lost $0.3 to $342.0/ton.
The wheat markets are again struggling despite supportive news. The Russia-Ukraine conflict still seems likely to slow wheat exports from that region, whereas current arctic cold over the U.S. Plains may freeze some winter wheat. India also published crop estimates overnight; its wheat production figure essentially matched that of the USDA, but its stated plan to export no wheat seemed supportive. Given all these factors, wheat futures turned mixed to lower in early morning action, which likely discouraged bulls. March CBOT wheat edged up 1.25 cents to $5.3625/bushel early Wednesday morning, while March KC wheat dipped 0.25 cent to $5.62/bushel, and March MWE wheat skidded 0.25 to $5.885.
Cattle traders seemed worried about short-term cash prospects Tuesday. Despite last week’s cash market rise and the fact that fed cattle supplies usually reach annual lows during March, CME futures turned decidedly lower Tuesday. Market participants seemingly worried that high retail prices and stunted exports will further depress the cattle market in the short run. However, choice cutout rose again yesterday afternoon, which may bode well for today’s opening. April cattle futures ended Tuesday having plunged 2.50 cents to 150.72 cents/pound, while August cattle dove 1.72 cents to 142.27 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures tumbled 2.40 cents to 201.45 cents/pound and May feeders plummeted 2.45 to 200.07.
Fresh spot weakness undermined hog futures yesterday. CME hogs ended last week strongly, which seemed justified when Monday’s spot market quotes showed significant signs of firming. Tuesday’s talk apparently turned much weaker, as signified by the big losses posted by the various swine contracts. But the Iowa market firmed, as did pork quotes, thereby favoring an early Wednesday rebound. April hog futures tanked by 2.02 cents to 64.00 cents/pound as Tuesday’s CME pit session ended, while June hogs dropped 1.75 to 78.37.
Indian news may weigh on ICE cotton. In last week’s WASDE report the USDA estimated India’s cotton production at 30.5 million bales, which is far below the 35.15 million-bale total posted by Indian officials overnight. The fact that India exports only a modest portion of its crop may limit its market impact, but such a huge total hardly seems bullish. Nevertheless, ICE futures resumed Tuesday’s surge early this morning. March cotton futures gained 0.17 cents to 63.97 cents/pound shortly after sunrise Wednesday, while the July contract rose 0.19 to 65.05.