Weather forecasts for persistently wet, cold conditions for parts of the Midwest sent corn futures soaring Monday, with the expiring May future reaching its daily limit. Prices rose farther overnight in the wake of the afternoon crop condition report, since it indicated that planting of the 2013 U.S. crop is just 5% complete, whereas a result around 9% was expected. This reading is drastically below historical averages for late April. May corn rose 5.75 cents to $6.8975/bushel early Tuesday morning, while December climbed 5.25 cent to $5.6475.
The ongoing slowdown in corn plantings is not necessarily supportive of the soybean price outlook, since acreage that does not get planted to corn will probably go into beans. However, spillover strength from the corn pit apparently boosted soybean futures Monday, as did persistently tight old crop supplies here in the U.S. Talk of strong Chinese demand for old-crop American beans also supported futures Monday night. May soybeans jumped 13.25 cents to $14.85/bushel in pre-dawn Tuesday trading, while May soyoil bounced 0.09 cents to 49.55 cents/pound and May soybean meal added $5.0 to $436.4/ton.
Bullish spillover from the corn market as well as talk of frost damage to the winter wheat crop and badly delayed spring wheat plantings boosted the wheat markets substantially Monday. Futures could see more of the same today, especially if the ongoing Wheat Quality Council tour confirms recent frost damage. However, news that the Indian government may be willing to lower its asking price in order to push 5.0 million tonnes of its huge domestic stockpile onto the global market seemed to stifle rally attempts in early Tuesday trading. May CBOT wheat futures were unchanged at $7.0975/bushel in the early hours of Tuesday morning, while May KCBT wheat climbed 3.75 cents to $7.845, whereas May MGE futures were also unchanged at $8.3175.
Cattle futures ended Monday narrowly mixed, then did little better overnight. The lack of concerted gains has to be disappointing bulls, since they continue anticipating a sizeable early-May surge in cash cattle and wholesale beef prices. Beef cutout values did jump Monday, so the lack of bullish follow-through at the CME is rather worrying. June cattle edged just 0.10 cents higher to 122.65 cents/pound early Tuesday morning, while December declined 0.05 cents to 128.02. Feeder cattle futures continued their grain-driven decline, with the May contract falling 0.42 cents to 140.00 cents/pound overnight and August tumbling 0.52 cents to 149.35.
Hog traders also had to be disappointed by the Monday CME performance, when swine futures dipped despite supportive cash and wholesale developments. Chicago prices were mixed to higher Monday night. The fact that the spring and summer contracts are already trading at substantial premiums over cash values probably explains bullish struggles to push them even higher. May hog futures gained 0.20 cents to 89.50 cents/pound in early Tuesday morning action, while the June contract inched up 0.15 cents to 92.30.