Ag markets were mixed to start the new week

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The tight old crop situation seemed to boost old crop corn futures Sunday night. The fact that the nearby July contract closed decisively above its 40-day moving average on Friday probably sparked follow-through buying as well. Conversely, the deferred contracts declined, thereby seeming to reflect improved prospects for Corn Belt planting during the days ahead. July corn rose 4.0 cents to $6.5675/bushel early Monday morning, while December dipped 1.5 cents to $5.18.

Tightness of old crop supplies apparently supported nearby soybean futures again over the weekend. The fact that the July future is priced well below the May expiration point probably seems bullish as well. And while accelerated corn plantings could limit the acreage eventually shifted to soybeans, relatively early plantings of the legumes holds the potential to boost yields. July soybeans gained 2.0 cents to $14.505/bushel in early Monday trading, while July soyoil slipped 0.07 cents to 49.45 cents/pound, and July soybean meal added $1.7 to $426.8/ton.

Weekend rainfall plus the prospect of more of the same during the days ahead may have affected wheat futures Sunday night. That is, the improved moisture seemingly increased production prospects for the winter wheat crops, which would explain the slippage experienced by the Chicago and Kansas City markets. Conversely, wet conditions in the northern Plains imply additional delays to spring wheat plantings, which in turn might reduce harvests next fall. Thus, Minneapolis prices rose slightly. July CBOT wheat futures slipped 1.25 cents to $6.82/bushel as trading commenced Monday, and July KCBT wheat dipped 1.25 to $7.36, while July MGE futures advanced 0.75 cents to $8.045.

Cash cattle prices weakened late last week, which apparently undercut CME values ahead of the weekend. The monthly USDA Cattle on Feed report released after the CME close on Friday seemed somewhat bearish since April placements topped average forecasts and marketings fell short of expectations. June cattle fell 0.50 cents to 119.40 cents/pound at its Friday settlement, while December slid 0.75 to 123.52. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures plunged 1.75 cents to 143.37 cents/pound and November tumbled 1.20 cents to 149.20.

Strong wholesale gains and persistent increases by the CME lean hog index boosted CME hog futures Thursday and again early Friday morning. However, the news that Canadian officials may soon institute retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products in the COOL dispute seemed to undercut CME futures around midsession. Rumors (and late afternoon confirmation) of a pig disease in the Corn Belt may have added to the downward pressure. How the market will reaction to the Friday afternoon news is very much open to question. June hog futures closed 1.35 cents, at 91.52 cents/pound last Friday afternoon, while December futures edged 0.05 cents higher to 77.40.

There was little news concerning cotton over the weekend, which would seem to explain the mixed nature of Sunday night trading. Concurrent losses in the equity indexes and the U.S. dollar in early electronic trading also seemed to indicate a general lack of direction. July cotton had slid 0.07 cents to 86.34 in early Monday morning action, while December skidded 0.06 cents to 85.84.



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