Corn futures have slightly extended losses to trade 6 to 7 cents lower
- Profit-taking is weighing on the corn market to start the week.
- The front-month contract is testing support at $4.90 and it has turned the $5.00 level back into resistance.
- Traders expect this afternoon's Crop Progress Report to show planting progress advanced in some areas of the Corn Belt but weekend rains kept others out of fields.
- More rains are in the forecast for the Upper Midwest this week, which will delay fieldwork and planting.
- Light pressure stems from news China's corn imports from the U.S. for March at 11,942 MT are down 94.95% year-over-year.
- Spillover from heavy losses in wheat and soybeans adds to the negative tone.
- Traders are brushing off news of a daily export sale of 128,000 MT of old-crop corn Friday when the markets were closed.
Soybean futures are mostly 20-plus cents lower.
- Soybean futures extended overnight losses on the triggering of sell stops.
- The front-month and the July contract have moved back below the key $15.00 level.
- The market is also being pressured by thoughts soggy conditions this week could help beans to hold onto record-high soybean acres.
- Strength in the U.S. dollar index is also giving bears an edge.
- Traders expect this morning's weekly export inspections update to remind of slowing demand for U.S. soybeans.
Wheat futures have extended early losses to trade mostly 20-plus cents lower.
- Rains in HRW wheat country over the weekend and the forecast for more this week are pressuring the market to start the week. While rains fell on the region, they were scattered through the driest areas.
- Traders are brushing off ideas this afternoon's afternoon's crop condition ratings will reflect deterioration in the HRW wheat crop due to last week's freeze event, as they say this has already been factored into prices.
- Egypt's Ag Ministry says its government has signed contracts with local farmers to procure 4.25 MMT of wheat, a 25% increase from last year's deals. This could reduce the country's import needs.
Live cattle futures are posting slight to moderate losses this morning.
- Traders are responding last week's $1 to $2 lower cash cattle trade at $146 in the Southern Plains and at $148 in Nebraska by pushing futures lower.
- However, April futures are more than $3 below the low end of these prices. This is helping to limit selling pressure.
- Consecutive weeks of lower cash trade and boxed beef market improvement have improved packer profit margins. However, they remain deep in the red.
- On Friday, Choice boxed beef firmed 47 cents and Select dipped 20 cents. Movement was lighter than earlier that week at 147 loads.
- Weaker corn prices are lifting nearby feeder cattle futures. The front-month holds a slight discount to the cash market.
Lean hog futures are moderately to sharply lower through the summer-month contracts, with far-deferred months slightly lower.
- Nearby contracts are leading the decline amid profit-taking after solid gains last week.
- Recent declines in the cash market have lifted packer profit margins.
- Demand for cash hogs is mixed to start the week. Some are thought to be short-bought heading into the week, but others are closed for the day in observance of the Easter holiday.
- Traders are brushing off a $1.20 gain in the pork cutout value on Friday, and are instead focusing on light movement of 217.63 loads.
- Traders are also digesting news of stepped-up efforts by USDA to track the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) as well as to help producers dealing with the virus.
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