Ag markets look set to start this week rather poorly

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Corn futures seem set to start this week poorly. The July contract expired at sharply higher levels last Friday, but improving weather forecasts weighed upon new crop prices. Indeed, a modest increase in precipitation forecasts seemed to depress futures further Sunday night. September corn futures had fallen 9.5 cents to $5.36/bushel by early Monday morning, while December tumbled 8.75 cents to $5.005.

The soy complex held up better than its crop counterparts Sunday night. The fact that August is still an old crop contract rather clearly supported nearby prices, whereas relatively benign weather forecasts for late July seemingly pushed deferred futures lower. Oil futures once again suffered from weakness spilling over from the Asian palm oil markets. August soybean futures inched 0.25 cent lower to $14.2875/bushel in early Monday trading, while August soyoil sank 0.23 cents to 45.99 cents/pound and August soymeal gained $1.8 to $444.7/ton.

Wheat futures followed corn lower in early Monday trading. The expiration of the various July contracts may have undercut their deferred counterparts. The fruits of the ongoing winter wheat harvest may also be weighing upon the Chicago and Kansas City markets. Conversely, predicted increases in rainfall for the northern Plains probably weighed upon Minneapolis prices. September CBOT wheat dove 11.0 cents to $6.70/bushel as the sun rose over Chicago Monday, while September KCBT wheat dropped 9.25 cents to $6.9925 and September MGE futures dipped 6.25 cents to $7.6025.

Short-term pessimism seemingly weighed upon cattle futures late last week. Cattle traders anticipating a seasonal second-half rally have built significant premiums into 2013 CME futures, but recent wholesale weakness and flat Friday cash quotes apparently kept the market under wraps. August cattle slipped 0.07 cents to 121.85 cents/pound at the CME close Friday, while December declined 0.12 cents to 128.32. August feeder futures were unchanged at 150.12 to end the week, whereas November climbed 0.35 cents to 155.72.

Hog futures were mixed to weak again Friday. Midweek wholesale losses probably caused the sustained slippage in Chicago prices, since those declines very likely presage similar losses in cash and wholesale values during the second half of the year. On the other hand, the pork strength stated by the USDA late Friday afternoon may support futures at the start of trading this week. August hog futures closed 0.37 cents lower at 94.90 cents/pound Friday afternoon, while December sagged 0.10 cents to 81.35.

Cotton futures declined in concert with the other crop markets overnight. Despite fresh support from equity index futures Sunday night, white fiber prices apparently slipped in response to the latest weather forecasts. Indeed, the cotton growing area of Texas seems likely to be blessed with significant rainfall by midweek, which could greatly benefit the current crop. October cotton slid 0.13 cents to 85.00 cents/pound in early Monday action, while December skidded 0.12 cents to 84.96.



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