Ag markets were all over the place Monday

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Corn futures continued sliding Monday. Highly favorable growing conditions are boosting corn crop prospects here in the U.S., with forecasts implying more of the same through the first half of August. Other considerations seem to be falling by the wayside at this point. The weekly Export Inspections report stated the corn total moderately above expectations, but that did little to boost prices. September corn futures closed 6.75 cents lower at $4.6925/bushel Monday afternoon, while December slid 3.25 cents to $4.605.

The soy complex was decidedly mixed to start the week. The same weather boosting the production outlook and depressing corn prices did the same to soybeans in early Monday trading. However, a respected Memphis firm published a supportive 2013/14 production forecast around midmorning, thereby boosting prices somewhat. The soybean oil market rebounded from multi-month lows in concert with Asian palm oil prices. September soybean futures sagged 5.25 cents to $12.075/bushel as CBOT trading wound down Monday, while November beans rose 1.75 cents to $11.8325. September soyoil bounced 0.33 cents to 42.82 cents/pound, while September soymeal dropped $8.1 to $377.1/ton.

Wheat proved surprisingly weak. The golden grain markets apparently followed corn and beans lower in early Monday action, then accelerated downward when pit trading commenced. Traders were quick to blame technical factors for putting the nearby CBOT contract at a 13-month low. We suspect heavy Kansas rains are recharging soils in that region, thereby boding well for winter wheat plantings this fall. September CBOT wheat dove 15.25 cents to $6.4525/bushel at its Monday afternoon close, while September KCBT wheat tumbled 11.25 cent to $6.955, and September MGE futures lost 7.5 cents to $7.3375.

Cattle and feeder trading was quite mixed Monday. Cattle traders are seemingly uncertain about short-term prospects for the cash and wholesale markets, so they are probably unwilling to push the Chicago market very far in either direction. Ultimately, there is no guarantee the cash market will live up to the implicitly bullish forecasts already built into CME futures. October cattle settled 0.07 cents higher at 124.55 cents/pound Monday afternoon, while December was inched up 0.02 to 127.00. September feeder cattle futures ended the day steady at 157.00 cents/pound and November sank 0.02 cents to 160.00.

Lean hog futures vaulted upward in Monday trading. The moderate rise posted by pork cutout values late Friday afternoon probably sparked the move, especially with the CME lean hog index, which futures cash-settle against, still quoted well above the latest futures values. Bulls may also be reacting to seeming tightness in current hog supplies. The October contract jumped 1.55 cents to 85.50 at its Monday settlement, while December surged 1.40 cents to 82.20.



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