Corn futures declined in starting this week’s trading. Little news pertinent to the corn market emerged over the weekend. Traders cited generally large U.S. and global supplies, although robust demand has apparently offered consistent support in recent weeks. One also has to suspect the weekend rebound by the U.S. dollar weighed on yellow grain values. March corn slipped 1.0 cent to $3.8425/bushel Sunday night, while July skidded 0.5 to $4.00.
The soy complex continues trading in mixed fashion. Underlying demand for soybeans and meal seemingly remains quite vigorous as well, despite renewed U.S. dollar strength. Talk that a Brazilian trucker strike is preventing beans from flowing freely to ports may also be offering support. However, the soyoil situation remains bearish, especially with the crude oil market threatening to resume its January breakdown. March soybean futures gained 3.0 cents to $1.0225/bushel as Monday dawned over Chicago, while March soyoil dropped 0.33 cents to 31.15 cents/pound, and March meal edged up $1.9 to $349.4/ton.
The wheat markets also traded mixed Sunday night. Although wheat futures have recently found support from potential weather problems in the U.S. southern Plains and the Black Sea region, as well optimism spilling over from the corn and soybean markets, the glutted global situation remains a major obstacle to sustained strength. Indeed, last Friday’s losses seemed to presage a test of recent lows. Still, prices proved mixed to lower over the weekend. March CBOT wheat sagged 1.0 cent to $5.0925/bushel in early Monday morning action, while March KC wheat slid 1.25 to $5.32/bushel, but March MWE wheat inched 0.25 higher to $5.67.
Country cattle prices disappointed CME traders last Friday. Cattle futures seemed to be lagging supportive spot market developments earlier this week, so it wasn’t terribly surprising to see them turn sharply lower today in apparent response to news of Nebraska trading $1.00-$2.00 lower than last week. The industry is clearly worried about demand strength. Friday’s Cattle on Feed report seemed somewhat bearish for deferred futures, but news of the West Coast labor settlement may spark a bounce on today’s opening. April cattle futures plummeted 2.97 cents to 148.52 cents/pound at their Friday CME close, while August cattle dove 1.87 cents to 140.80 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures plunged 3.37 cents to 199.17 cents/pound and May feeders tanked 3.07 to 197.82.
Hog futures posted a decidedly mixed Friday close. CME hog prices rallied early Friday morning in response to afternoon reports of sizeable Thursday cash gains. They lost upward momentum at moving average resistance, then bounced on reports indicating a port labor contract had been reached. Subsequent denials of those reports undercut prices later. Traders likely expect a big spring rebound, but think huge supplies will swamp the market in the second half. Friday’s spot markets were mixed, but weekend news of the resolved port labor situation could spur a strong opening today. April hog futures ended Friday having rallied 0.35 cents to 67.40 cents/pound Friday, while June hogs gained 0.27 to 81.72.
March cotton diverged from sinking deferred futures. The lack of supplies deliverable against the expiring March cotton contract rather obviously spurred fresh gains by that contract over the weekend. Conversely, traders may have decided they had overdone recent buying, since the latest CFTC report indicated that speculative long positions had increased about 50% the week prior. The Sunday night combination of stock index weakness and U.S. dollar strength appeared rather bearish as well. March cotton futures advanced 0.33 cents to 65.00 cents/pound early Monday morning, while the July contract fell 0.57 to 64.47.