Crop markets are starting the week on a firm note

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Corn futures were mixed to start the week. Little fresh news concerning the corn outlook emerged over the weekend, which largely explains the flat-to-mixed showing early Monday morning. The harvest is progressing, but will likely be interrupted by widespread rainfall the next two days. Traders will also be evening up positions ahead of Friday’s USDA reports. December corn futures dipped 0.75 cent to $4.265/bushel around dawn Monday, while May was flat at $4.4575.

The soy complex rose modestly in early Monday trading. As with corn, there was little soybean news over the weekend. Ideas that the harvest is nearing completion and/or position squaring ahead of Friday’s USDA reports seem the best explanations for the early strength. January soybean futures rallied 6.0 cents to $12.575/bushel early Monday morning, while December soyoil gained 0.07 cents to 41.66 cents/pound, but December soymeal slipped $0.8 to $394.1/ton.

The wheat markets got supportive news over the weekend. Saudi Arabia announced the results of a major tender this morning, with loads coming from all over the world in the coming months. Tunisia also announced a sizeable purchase. As in the other ag markets, wheat traders may already be adjusting positions ahead of Friday’s crop reports, since the cancelled October report has left the industry with major questions about future supplies. December CBOT wheat futures rose 2.5 cents to $6.7025/bushel to start the week, while December KCBT wheat futures edged up 2.25 cents to $7.3575, and December MWE futures advanced 3.5 to $7.29.

Traders cited beef weakness for undercutting cattle futures last Friday. Bears were reportedly reacting to the latest wholesale reports, which showed beef prices lower Thursday and Friday. Reports of steady country prices encouraged selling as well. That may bode ill for the start of this week’s action. December cattle declined 0.65 cents to 132.07 cents/pound at their Friday close, while April dipped 0.32 to 133.45. January feeder cattle edged 0.20 cents lower to 163.47 cents/pound, and March feeders slumped 0.67 to 163.82.

Hog futures also lost ground in Friday trading. Talk of declining cash and wholesale prices apparently depressed CME hog values to end the week. The losses might have garnered less attention in other circumstances, but this is the time of year when the hog and pork complex often proves very weak. Still, surprisingly low hog and pork production persistently supported prices this autumn. December hog futures dove 0.82 cents to 88.35 cents/pound late last Friday, while April descended 0.50 cents to 92.87 cents/pound.

Chinese news probably boosted cotton futures over the weekend. A wire service report indicated that Chinese officials had virtually doubled purchases for their cotton stockpiling program last week. The latest figure was the largest of the year. Their stockpiling has supported global cotton prices over the past two years and seems likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. December cotton climbed 0.32 cents to 76.90 cents/pound soon after sunrise Monday, while March cotton moved up 0.26 to 78.96.



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