Ag markets diverged widely to start trading this week

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Corn futures began the week strongly in response to persistent concerns about excessive moisture and farmer difficulties in getting the last of the 2013 crop planted. However, futures reversed sharply around mid-morning. That may have partially reflected the negative result on the monthly PMI manufacturing report. The weekly Export Inspections report was no surprise. Wire services blamed technical factors and corn/wheat spread unwinding for the drop. July corn fell 6.25 cents to $6.5575 per bushel at its Monday close, while December dropped 7.25 cents to $5.60.

Tight cash markets and delayed plantings boosted old and new crop soybean futures Monday. Prices did set back modestly from early highs as corn futures turned lower, but remained well on the plus side. Still, the legume complex could struggle to sustain gains if corn keeps sliding. July soybean futures jumped 22.5 cents to $15.325/bushel by Monday afternoon, while July soyoil rose 0.28 cents to 48.66 cents/pound, and July soybean meal climbed $7.2 to $454.4/ton.

Wheat futures fluctuated rather wildly Monday. After rising early, they declined in concert with corn later in the morning. The weekly Export Inspections report, which stated the result for last week at 16.799 million bushel (whereas a figure in the 19-22 mib range was anticipated) may have contributed to the drop. Price later rebounded in apparent reaction to concerns about current U.S. crops and to technical shifts. July CBOT wheat futures closed 3.25 cents higher at $7.085/bushel Monday, while July KCBT wheat rose 0.5 cents to $7.515 and July MGE futures bounced 3.0 cents to $8.23.

CME live cattle futures opened firmly Monday morning, but quickly moved lower. The sizeable wholesale decline suffered last Friday afternoon may have contributed to the drop, especially since many in the industry believe the recent beef price surge will tend to strangle consumer demand. Seasonal factors may also be pointing toward lower levels, although the expiring June contract is trading at a significant discount to the latest cash quotes. June cattle fell 0.57 cents to 120.72 cents/pound as pit trading ended Monday, while December tumbled 0.95 to 124.90. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures bounced in reaction to the corn slide, rising 0.10 cents to 144.65 cents/pound, whereas November slumped 0.12 cents to 149.60.

Hog futures posted a strong start to trading Monday morning, which probably reflected widespread expectations for seasonal gains through mid-June. However, Chicago swine prices turned generally lower in concert with the cattle market, which probably reflected concerns about hog and pork demand strength if cattle and beef prices decline as much as many apparently expect. June hog futures settled 0.20 cents higher at 95.82 cents/pound Monday afternoon, while December dropped 0.40 cents to 80.30.



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