Export prospects seemed to affect the crop markets again Tuesday

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After dipping Monday night, corn futures resumed their recent advance Tuesday morning. The persistent tightness of the domestic situation, along with Brazilian logistics problems were reportedly supporting the market. Technicians may be joining bulls with the May future threatening to break out above chart resistance associated with its 40-day moving average. May corn had risen 3.5 cents to $714.75/bushel late Tuesday morning, while December gained 4.0 cents to $5.58.

Soybean futures seemed to be suffering belated effects of the disappointing Monday Export Inspections report Tuesday morning. Wire service sources suggested traders were worried that the drop signaled reduced interest from China. Each day also brings closer the arrival of large supplies of Brazilian beans upon the global market, which might easily drag prices downward. May soybeans had fallen 11.25 cents to $14.6825/bushel around just before lunchtime Tuesday, while May soyoil dipped 0.36 cents to 50.08 cents/pound, and May meal skidded $3.1 lower to $434.9/ton.

Wheat futures seemed to benefit from strength spilling over from the corn market Tuesday morning, but improving winter wheat conditions were very likely limiting rally attempts. The weekly crop condition reports for the Southern Plains were released Monday afternoon, with both Kansas and Oklahoma wheat fields showing significant improvements. May CBOT wheat futures slipped 0.5 cent to $6.995/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while May KCBT wheat edged up 1.75 cents to $7.375, and May MGE futures lost 1.0 cent to $7.93.

Wire service sources cited record prices for select grade beef values for a big portion of early Tuesday gains by CME live cattle futures. Choice cutout remains significantly below its October 2003 high. Moreover, the relatively tight spread between the lesser and better-finished cuts, respectively, suggests producers are not marketing their cattle in a timely manner; that may bide rather ill for the late spring-early summer outlook, since the supply of fed cattle traditionally surges during to annual highs during the second quarter. April cattle surged 0.62 cents to 128.75 cents/pound in late-morning activity, while August added 0.42 cents to 125.07. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle jumped 0.70 cents to 142.07 cents/pound, while August bounded upward 1.00 cent to 151.32.

Despite reports of sharply lower cash prices in the Western Corn Belt, MCE lean hog futures rose modestly Tuesday morning. The futures strength may have reflected firmer quotes east of the Mississippi River and/or industry hopes for a sustained wholesale rebound as grocers start building inventories for the start of the spring grilling season next month. April hogs gained 0.50 cents to 81.65 cents/pound late Tuesday morning, while June climbed 0.25 cents to 91.10.



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