Falling financial markets are undercutting ag commodities. Although underlying food demand seemingly remains very robust, most ag markets declined in tandem with the collapsing ruble and falling energy and equity index futures overnight. Tumbling crude quotes were thought to be depressing corn futures, since that seems likely to reduce ethanol demand. March corn futures sagged 3.0 cents to $4.055/bushel Monday night, while July slid 2.75 to $4.1975.
The soy complex is also suffering from the broad market decline. The fact that crude oil has become a major factor in the pricing of soybean oil, due to the latter’s status as a biodiesel feedstock, very likely accounts for the overnight decline in soyoil futures. That weakness also spilled over into the bean market, but the fact that meal also declined is a testament to the broad nature of overnight financial losses. January soybean futures slumped 10.5 cents to $10.29/bushel in early Tuesday action, while January soyoil fell 0.40 to 31.87 cents/pound, and January meal lost $3.6 to $361.8/ton.
The Russian situation is still supporting the wheat market. Russia’s ag minister stated overnight that the Putin regime will use an aggressive stock replenishment program to deal with its domestic wheat situation and disavowed talk of restrictions on exports. Wheat traders apparently doubted his word, since golden grain prices advanced again in early trading. March CBOT wheat rallied 5.5 cents to $6.245/bushel early Tuesday morning, while March KC wheat rose 4.0 cents to $6.51/bushel and March MWE wheat gained 4.5 to $6.37.
Monday’s midsession beef rebound did little to support cattle futures. News of sizeable cash and wholesale losses exerted considerable downward pressure upon cattle futures last week. Moreover, Friday’s big wholesale losses probably exacerbated fears about forthcoming demand strength, which weighed heavily upon CME futures again yesterday. News of a sizeable midday beef rebound only modestly reduced the selling pressure. Broad financial market losses bode ill for today’s opening. February live cattle dipped 0.42 cents to 161.75 cents/pound at Monday’s CME close, while April skidded 0.30 to 161.10. January and March feeder cattle futures again plunged the 3.00-cent daily limit to 222.60 and 218.25 cents/pound, respectively.
The hog and pork complex came back from early lows Monday. Although the wholesale pork markets proved quite strong last Friday, the ongoing breakdown in cattle and feeder futures, as well as recent cash market slippage, continue weighing on hog futures on Monday’s opening. However, midsession news of another wholesale rise largely reversed the early losses. Conversely, late afternoon reports of cash weakness, and widespread market losses probably presage a weak opening. February hog futures ended Monday having inched up 0.02 cents to 83.27 cents/pound, while June hogs added 0.10 cents to 91.25.
Cotton futures are also under pressure. Although talk of domestic mill demand and technical considerations have supported cotton futures lately, the fiber market turned moderately lower Monday night. That’s not terribly surprising given the bearishness dominating the financial markets and current traders pessimism about the global economic outlook. March cotton futures sagged 0.32 cents to 60.33 cents/pound shortly after dawn Tuesday, while the July contract dropped 0.42 to 61.44.