Corn slipped to fresh 2015 lows Monday. Weather forecasts point to a sustained Midwest dry spell into early May, which could allow spring corn plantings to surge, thereby potentially improving autumn yield prospects. Concerns about the bird flu outbreak and its impact upon feed grain demand also encouraged early-week selling, with the net effect being a corn futures drop to fresh 2015 lows. May corn futures slid 3.75 cents to $3.6075/bushel in late Monday action, while December lost 5.0 to $3.8325.
Good export news supported the soy complex. Although the corn and wheat numbers on the USDA Export Inspections report looked supportive, they seemingly had little effect upon grain prices. Conversely, the sizeable result for soybeans exports apparently boosted prices somewhat, probably because it followed an early-morning daily system announcement of a big sale for 2014/15 delivery. May soybean futures closed up 3.25 cents to $9.73/bushel Monday afternoon, while May soyoil slipped 0.01 cents to 31.66 cents/pound, and May meal added $0.5 to $315.1/ton.
The wheat markets also made new lows. Current weather forecasts seem favorable for the forthcoming wheat crops, with the southern Plains reportedly anticipating short-term rainfall, while the Corn Belt looks dry. The good result on the Export Inspections report and comparative dryness in the northern Plains probably limited losses. May CBOT wheat futures fell 15.75 cents to $4.7025/bushel at Monday’s settlement, while May KC wheat dropped 11.5 cents to $4.9075/bushel, and May MWE wheat sank 10.5 to $5.245.
Cattle futures reacted poorly to last Friday’s COF report. Although underlying fundamentals remain supportive, anticipation of a big seasonal breakdown continues weighing on the cattle/feeder markets. Bears were encouraged by last Friday’s USDA Cattle on Feed report, which stated March feedlot placements well above average forecast. Futures opened sharply lower in response, came back somewhat around midsession, but ended the day rather weakly. June cattle futures dove 0.92 cents to 150.27 cents/pound as Monday’s CME pit session ended, while August cattle tumbled 1.37 to 148.35. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures plunged 2.67 cents to 211.40 cents/pound, and August feeders plummeted 2.50 to 213.17.
CME hogs struggled against major chart resistance. Hog futures ended last week on a strong note, with cash market gains likely boosting prices. Monday’s early spot quotes showed renewed strength, thereby spurring modest CME gains. However, the most-active June future proved unable to top big chart and psychological resistance at the 80-cent level and ended the day slightly lower. June hog futures skidded 0.05 cents to 79.40 cents/pound at Monday’s Chicago close, and December sagged 0.22 to 68.67.