Corn followed beans higher Monday night. As has often been the case lately, little news concerning the corn market emerged overnight, which left traders looking to the soybean pit for leadership. The trucker strike in Brazil, which is blocking shipments to ports, apparently boosted the soy complex and dragged grain quotes higher as well. Nearby corn futures are facing tough chart resistance. March corn futures gained 1.75 cents to $3.805/bushel early Tuesday morning, while July added 1.75 to $3.9675.
The soy complex rallied across the board. In contrast to recent action, bean and product futures made a concerted move higher overnight. Brazil’s trucker strike and the highway blockages preventing beans from reaching ports is almost surely temporary, but it may encourage short-term buying of U.S. soy. The fact that nearby bean futures may be breaking out above their 40-day moving average probably exaggerated the buying. March soybean futures surged 8.75 cents to $10.08/bushel Monday night, while March soyoil rallied 0.12 cents to 31.26 cents/pound, and March meal climbed $5.3 to $353.6/ton.
The wheat markets also moved generally higher overnight. U.S. wheat sales still seem quite weak, but that didn’t prevent futures from edging upward overnight. As with corn, they seemed to follow the bean market. There was little pertinent news and technical factors don’t seem to have a pivotal point. Thus, the overnight rise was rather impressive. March CBOT wheat inched up 0.5 cent to $5.0625/bushel in early Tuesday action, while March KC wheat rose 4.5 to $5.3575/bushel, and March MWE wheat crept 0.75 higher to $5.685.
Cattle prices reacted rather weekly to weekend port news. Concerns about demand seemed to undercut the CME cattle market last week, with late-week cash slippage also spurring selling. The monthly Cattle on Feed report looked somewhat bearish for deferred futures as well. News of the West Coast labor settlement sparked an early bounce, but bulls proved unable to prevent significant losses as the day passed. Beef strength looked supportive, but bearish momentum may dominate this morning. April cattle futures dove 1.42 cents to 147.10 cents/pound at Monday’s CME close, while August cattle plunged 1.67 cents to 139.12 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures tumbled 1.10 cents to 198.07 cents/pound and May feeders lost 1.20 to 196.62.
Hog futures bounced on the weekend port settlement. The spot markets for hogs and pork stabilized last week, thereby seeming to set the stage for a bullish response to weekend news that the West Coast port labor situation had been resolved. Futures rallied strongly on yesterday’s opening, but gave back a sizeable portion of those gains as the bearish environment weighed upon traders. Afternoon trading also seemed rather weak despite cash strength. Today’s opening may be mixed. April hog futures closed up 0.92 cents to 68.32 cents/pound Monday, while June hogs climbed 0.67 to 82.40.
Tightening stocks seemingly powered fresh cotton gains. Although the short-term cotton supply situation seems rather supplied, the quantity available for delivery against expiring March futures is very low and declined significantly Monday. Thus, short position holders are being squeezed as March approaches. Ideas that plantings will drop sharply this year are also supporting the deferred contracts. March cotton advanced 0.40 cents to 65.15 cents/pound as Tuesday dawned over New York, while the July contract rebounded 0.31 to 64.73.