Lean hog futures traded higher on Monday. Strength in pork cutout prices on Friday and expectations for firm cash trade early this week helped futures recover from technically oversold levels. Short-covering provided support, but gains were limited by technical damage done to the charts last week and concern about pork demand given high pork prices and high energy costs. June closed 38 cents higher at $95.65 and August was 35 cents higher at $97.58.
Corn futures closed lower on Monday. Profit-taking from the gains on Friday and ideas of improved planting weather in the central and western Corn Belt weighed on the market. Old-crop led the decline, but much of the markets focus is on the weather and planting prospects. Corn planting has gotten off to a slow start. Traders expect USDA to report corn planting progress at 16% as of Sunday, the third slowest on record and well below the five-year average pace of 40%. July ended 22 cents lower at $7.34 1/2 and December was 8 1/4 cents lower at $6.61 1/4.
Soybean futures traded slightly lower on Monday. Losses were trimmed into the close as the dollar index weakened. The dollar had been higher early in the day following the news of Osama bin Laden's death. USDA will report soybean planting progress this afternoon. However, corn progress is more critical at this point. Corn planting progress is expected to be well below average pace, but progress is expected this week in the central and western Corn Belt. If corn planting improves, there will be less acreage vulnerable to being switched to soybeans due to further planting delays. July ended 1 cent lower at $13.93 and November was 1/2 of a cent lower at $13.73 3/4.