Crop and livestock futures are expected to open lower on Monday

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Corn prices are set to open 6 cents to 8 cents lower on Monday. Most of the Corn Belt got rain over the weekend and the moisture will weigh on corn futures to start the week. There is also a new round of worry about possible downgrades for European banks. Corn futures are also in a pretty steep downturn with the May contract dropping by about 35 cents during trading last week. There is some concern that the pace of export shipments is slowing which push ending stocks up from the most recent forecast.

Soybean prices are expected to open 7 to 12 cents lower. The combination of possible bearish developments in the European situation and improved moisture conditions across the Corn Belt will put pressure on soybean prices at the open on Monday. Export inspections are expected to exceed the 12 million bushels needed to stay on pace to reach the current USDA forecast for the 2011/12 season. However, the strength in the value of the dollar is causing some concern among traders.

Wheat prices are called 5 cents to 9 cents lower. There is concern this morning about how much damage the severe weather across the Plains states this weekend may have done to the wheat crop. There were places where the hail was severe and some damage is likely. On the other hand, a lot of the winter wheat producing area got some needed rain. Strength in the dollar is a cause for concern for wheat traders. The July Chicago contract is set to open below the recent low of $6.27 of March 29.

Cattle futures are expected to open mixed on Monday. The data indicates that buyers are short on cattle as we head into this week, but with the processing losses piling up, there is little enthusiasm for raising bids. Boxed beef prices remain low and there is talk about cutting back on slaughter. On the other side of the market, show lists are expected to be larger this week than they were last week. Sellers were able to hold out and get high prices last week, but it may be more difficult this week.

Hog futures are expected to open steady to 40 cents lower. There will probably be some follow-through selling after Friday’s limit down move for some hog contracts. To make matters worse the pork cutout fell sharply on Friday to a new low for the year and is in fact lower than at any time in 2011. Export data for February was positive with shipments up about 16 percent over the 2011 level. But this bit of good news will probably get overwhelmed by the negative factors affecting the market.

Cotton futures are expected to open 40 to 80 points lower on Monday. The uptick in the value of the dollar and the renewed concern about developments in Europe will put pressure on the cotton market in early trading on Monday. Traders are also still assessing the implications of the slower than expected economic growth in China and the huge buildup in cotton stocks in China. Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas got good rains over the weekend which may help the 2012 cotton crop get off to a good start. The rain did not get into the southeastern states.



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