Grain markets posted a strong showing Monday

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Talk of U.S. wheat exports to China and frost damage to the domestic winter wheat crop seemed to send the grain and soy complexes higher Monday. However, the USDA Export Inspections report stated the weekly corn figure at just 10.1 million bushels, whereas a result in the 14-18 million was expected. That probably limited nearby futures gains and caused the slide in deferred values. May corn closed up 4.5 cents at $6.335/bushel Monday afternoon, while December fell 1.5 cents to $5.335.

The apparent confirmation of rumored U.S. wheat sales to China last week and talk of frost damage to the U.S. winter wheat crop also boosted soybean futures Monday. The legume market may also have gathered support from talk of excessive rainfall over Argentine fields as they try to harvest their bean crop. Palm oil strength may have spilled over into the soy complex as well. May soybeans surged 14.75 cents to $13.78/bushel at its Monday settlement, while May soyoil leapt 0.66 cents to 49.52 cents/pound, and May meal edged $1.2 higher to $393.0/ton.

Wheat futures rallied after a Chinese think tank stated Sunday evening that the Asian giant had bought 12-14 cargoes of U.S. wheat last week. Talk that late-March storms had damaged the winter wheat crop and predictions of a potential frost across the U.S. Winter Wheat Belt later this week seemingly encouraged buying as well. The Export Inspections report also appeared supportive. May CBOT wheat futures jumped 14.0 cents to $7.125/bushel by late Monday afternoon, while May KCBT wheat leapt 19.0 cents to $7.45 and May MGE futures added 12.25 cents to $7.9975.

Cattle futures rose moderately Monday, possibly in anticipation of seasonal cash and wholesale strength, since cattle and beef production remain seasonally low and grilling season demand usually accelerates around this time of year. The fact that noon beef prices were decidedly mixed likely limited gains. Feeder futures posted impressive gains despite the general grain/soybean strength. June cattle rose 0.52 cents to 122.02 cents/pound as the Monday pit session wound down, while December pushed up 0.50 cents to 128.55. May feeder cattle futures climbed 0.45 cents to 144.75 cents/pound, and August added 0.55 cents to 151.75.

Hog futures recovered somewhat from their big Friday breakdown Monday. Traders seemingly paid more attention to sizeable early-morning gains in the Iowa-Southern Minnesota area than to continued slippage in the Eastern Corn Belt. They may also have been hoping for seasonal strength in the days and weeks just ahead. The lightly traded May hog contract advanced 0.40 cents to 87.30 cents/pound at its Monday close, while June bounced 0.85 cents to 90.55.



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