Demand strength seems to support corn futures Monday. After dropping in response to financial market events last Friday, the corn market started this week well. Talk of improving demand probably powered gains, with news of firm spot quotes and a strong result on the weekly USDA Export Inspections report encouraging bulls. Traders may also have been covering shorts ahead of Tuesday’s Supply/Demand (WASDE) report. May corn futures closed up 2.75 cents to $3.8875/bushel Monday, while December added 2.0 to $4.1275.
Beans and meal also advanced. As with the grains, there wasn’t a great deal of soy news over the weekend, with most reports centering upon the number of grain ships awaiting loading off of Brazilian ports. But that’s largely old news at this point. Reports that Chinese buyers are canceling an abnormally low number of U.S. bean purchases from U.S. buyers very likely encouraged bulls, although Sunday night palm oil weakness weighed upon soyoil quotes. May soybean futures rallied 8.25 cents to $9.9325/bushel at their Monday settlement, while May slumped 0.28 cents to 30.88 cents/pound, and May meal marched $6.4 higher to $334.1/ton.
The wheat markets rallied strongly to start the week. U.S. wheat prices posted surprisingly firm closes last Friday despite negative financial market influences and continued rising to start this week. Wire service sources argue that recent losses have made U.S. grain more competitive on the global markets. Traders may also have been evening up positions ahead of tomorrow’s important WASDE report. May CBOT wheat climbed 7.5 cents to $4.90/bushel in late Tuesday trading, while May KC wheat advanced 8.25 cents to $5.305/bushel, and May MWE wheat rose 4.25 to $5.6075.
Cattle futures couldn’t sustain early Monday gains. Cash cattle prices leapt 3-4 cents to around 162 cents/pound ($/cwt) last Friday afternoon, which certainly suggested impressive seasonal strength and the potential for more of the same during March and April. However, traders seemed to believe that last week’s CME rally had anticipated the cash advance, since the April contract couldn’t sustain today’s bullish opening. April cattle futures settled 0.65 cents lower at 154.00 cents/pound Monday afternoon, while August cattle stumbled 0.25 cents to 144.57 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures slipped 0.17 cents to 208.40 cents/pound, and August feeders slid 0.47 to 208.65.
Cash hog losses seemingly weighed on CME prices. The early-March surge in cash hog prices ran out of momentum late last week, so CME traders now appear to be anticipating seasonal weakness into early spring. Neither extremely large supplies, nor Monday morning cash slippage were encouraging. April hog futures skidded 0.05 cents to 66.07 cents/pound as the Monday’s CME pit session ended, while June hogs tumbled 0.75 to 79.30.