The crop markets slipped despite supportive financial market action. Equity index futures bounced and the U.S. dollar dipped Sunday night, thereby partially reversing last Friday’s big moves. The implied improvement in demand seems supportive of the crop markets, but apparently cut little ice with traders. Unhelpful weather conditions may be supporting prices, but last Friday’s drop also did considerable technical damage to the corn charts. May corn futures sank 2.25 cents to $3.7825/bushel early Monday morning, while December lost 1.75 to $4.03.
The soy complex is also starting the weak rather poorly. The ongoing South American bean harvest is probably exerting persistent downward pressure upon the global soy market at this juncture, with last Friday’s poor showing adding to the downward pressure. Weekend crude and palm oil weakness wasn’t helpful either. On the other hand, firm meal prices remind us of the persistent strength of global protein demand. May soybean futures dipped 1.0 cent to $9.73/bushel in early Monday trading, while May soyoil slumped 0.17 cents to 30.32 cents/pound, but May meal edged up $0.5 to $327.5/ton.
Talk of modest rainfall forecasts seemed to limit weekend wheat losses. Last Friday’s breakdown also damaged the technical situation on the wheat charts, with prices suffering slight bearish follow-throughs overnight. Rain expected in the southern Plains later this week may also be weighing on prices a bit, but ideas about its limited nature and the prospect of subsequent dryness reportedly limited the decline. May CBOT wheat sagged 2.0 cents to $5.00/bushel Sunday night, while May KC wheat slipped 1.5 cents to $5.3775/bushel, and May MWE wheat skidded 0.75 to $5.6675.
Friday cash strength bodes well for Monday’s cattle opening. After rising the week prior, midday reports last Friday weren’t encouraging, thereby triggering a late sell-off. However, late afternoon reports indicated sizeable country gains. Thus, despite Friday’s big wholesale losses, we look for a strong CME cattle opening this morning. April cattle futures dropped 1.52 cents to 154.27 cents/pound at Friday’s close, while August cattle declined 1.00 cent to 143.62 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures plunged 1.67 cents to 211.22 cents/pound, and August feeders plummeted 1.47 to 211.20.
Friday’s financial market action exaggerated pork demand fears. The hog and pork industry certainly appears to be facing increased supplies and weak demand, especially when current conditions are compared to those seen last March. Export issues, cold weather, bird flu and economic concerns added to the pressure. However, traders seemed to think the selling was overdone, since the market bounced as Friday’s close loomed. On the other hand, afternoon spot reports were weak, which bodes ill for today’s opening. April hog futures closed just 0.20 cents lower at 62.10 cents/pound Friday, while June hogs skidded 0.35 to 75.42.
Cotton futures proved comparatively firm Sunday night. Last Friday’s negative financial market developments depressed cotton futures, but the weekend reversal of the equity losses and dollar gains appear to be offering support Monday morning. Friday afternoon news indicating bullish speculators had cut their holdings also encouraged fresh buying. May cotton gained 0.11 cents to 60.61 cents/pound shortly after dawn Monday, while December futures rose 0.05 to 62.64.