Short covering reportedly boosted crop markets Monday morning. Tomorrow’s big USDA Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports could spark strong reactions in the crop markets, so traders are probably squaring positions beforehand. Indeed, wire service reports cited short-covering for today’s early corn strength. Concurrent soybean and wheat gains are likely pulling corn higher as well. May corn futures edged up 2.0 cents to $3.93/bushel late Monday morning, while December added 1.75 to $4.165.
Looking at hog sales in September and pricing off the October lean hog contract the weaner breakeven was $31.80, up $3.53 for the week as future prices increased $1.97. Feed costs were up $0.50 per head.
The average price of pork at retail was $3.941 per pound during February. That is down 4.8 cents from the month before and down 21.4 cents from a year earlier. Pork prices in grocery stores have declined for five consecutive months.
Corn traders may have squared positions before the weekend. After exhibiting considerable strength over the previous week, corn futures declined Thursday and continued sliding today. There was little fresh news, and the financial markets essentially stalled. Thus, today’s corn slippage probably resulted traders and funds squaring positions before the weekend and next Tuesday’s important USDA reports. May corn futures slipped 0.25 cent to $3.91/bushel at Friday’s CBOT settlement, while December stalled at $4.1475.
Outside of New England, prices at most locations remain flat with warmer temperatures. Natural gas prices at most trading locations remained at or near their report week start point, Wednesday to Wednesday, as seasonal temperatures held through the week. With the exception of New England, most locations stayed within 10¢ of their price last Wednesday through the report week. The Henry Hub spot price last Wednesday was $2.77/MMBtu and gained 5¢ through Friday, before dropping to end the week at $2.74/MMBtu.
Corn traders may be squaring positions before the weekend. After exhibiting considerable strength over the previous week, corn futures declined Thursday and have continued sliding today. There’s little fresh news, and the financial markets have essentially stalled. Thus, we suspect today’s corn slippage is the result of traders and funds squaring positions before the weekend and next Tuesday’s important USDA reports. May corn futures slipped 1.5 cents to $3.8975/bushel late Friday morning, while December lost 1.25 to $4.135.