Ag markets diverged widely Monday morning

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Corn futures were slightly higher at midday as corn followed wheat higher and on optimism over export demand. Weekly export inspections came in at 30.2 million bushels - on the high side of expectations. The corn market is working at making a harvest low with harvest winding down and demand improving. At the same time, the market is dealing with record large production along with rising stocks. Cash market is likely to lead the post-harvest recovery barring a round of fund short covering. December corn futures were 1.25 cent higher at $4.235/bushel while May added 0.50 cents to $4.3775.

Soybean futures moved generally lower along with the drop of crude oil in Monday morning. Losses in the Asian vegetable oil markets seemingly added to the further downward pressure on soybean prices. Signs of strong export demand limit the sustained declines. January soybean futures fell 8.5 cents to $13.11/bushel; December soyoil dipped 0.24 cents to 40.92 cents/pound, and December soymeal descended $1.1 to $426.7/ton.

Wheat markets were mixed. Worries that cold weather in US Pains might cause damages to the hard red winter wheat crop gave supports to the wheat futures prices. However, there haven’t been any damage reports yet. Talk of the issue that China could lower its grain self-sufficiency threshold due to the urbanization of China boosted the wheat market. December CBOT wheat futures gained 1.75 cents to $6.5125/bushel in early Monday trading, while December KCBT wheat futures dropped 0.75 cents to $7.01, and December MWE futures edged up 1.0 to $7.0025.

Cattle futures were mixed at midday. Traders focused on a slightly lower than expected marketed figure from the Cattle on Feed report on Friday as justification for a higher prices. Even so, futures haven’t made a decisive move higher, failing so far to even clear Friday’s high. Overall, the COF report is viewed as neutral for prices. The Cold Storage report showed a modest increase in beef stocks to 443.6 million pounds, up 3% from a year ago. Wholesale prices have been weak. Trade will be eyeing beef prices closely for signs of improving demand. December cattle futures dropped 0.20 cents to 131.27, while April futures were 0.02 cents higher to 131.82. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle were down 0.65 cents to 162.85 cents/pound, and March feeders skidded 0.75 cents to 162.75.

Hog futures traded higher on Monday. Record high hog weights for the past a few weeks and a steady slaughter pace have created ample supplies in the meat market, which pressure the pork wholesale prices. However, stronger cash prices provided considerable support for the hog market. December hog futures lifted 0.175 cents to 85.8 and February futures rallied 0.375 to 90.05



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