Live cattle futures dropped lower with producers negotiating cash sales up to a month in the future to lock in prices that look better now than in April.
CME live cattle futures for April delivery dropped 0.4% to $1.155 a pound, a sharp discount to the market’s current cash trade.
Producers are trying to take advantage of a time in the market when packers are engaged in an initial burst of spring buying and are concerned that a month from now, the market will be in its full seasonal swing at a time when packers have already stocked up.
Meanwhile, CME lean hog futures were up 0.6% at 67.175 cents a pound. Traders expect packers to offer steady to lower prices but producers appear caught up enough on the slaughter to resist.
Wheat climbed to its highest point in more than three weeks in mid-morning trading, with forecasts for continuing dry US weather providing some strength. But corn futures fell amid concerns over feed demand after a bird flu discovery in Tennessee over the weekend contributed to killing last week’s rally. Soybeans were steady. CBOT most-actively traded May wheat futures climb 1.3% to $4.58 1/2, soybeans up 0.2% to $10.40. Corn falls 0.7% to $3.78 1/4.
Most eyes were on an upcoming supply-and-demand report, due to be released Thursday by the United States Department of Agriculture, with traders positioning themselves for potential changes to global stocks and production estimates.
Of particular concern are forecasts for the Brazilian corn and soybean harvests, which analysts widely expect to increase, giving buyers the power to push prices lower as global supplies rise.
Cotton futures jumped to the highest level in two and a half years on Monday, as speculators raised their bullish bets that mills would have to buy cotton to cover their presales.
Cotton for May delivery rose 1.4% to settle at 79.11 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange, the highest level since June 2014.
Oil prices edged lower Monday, as investors continued to weigh OPEC’s production cuts against rising production in the U.S.
U.S. crude futures fell 13 cents, or 0.24%, to $53.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, gained 11 cents, or 0.2%, to $56.01 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Gasoline futures rose 1.92 cents, or 1.16 %, to $1.6723 a gallon — their second highest settlement value of the year. Diesel futures rose 1.09 cents, or 0.68%, to $1.6045 a gallon.
Natural gas prices rallied Monday amid weather forecasts favoring cooler weather across much of the country.
Natural gas for April delivery rose 7.4 cents, or 2.62%, to $2.9010 a million British thermal units Monday. The five day streak of price gains is the longest for natural gas since late January.
The recent upswing comes after gas reached its lowest price in nearly seven months from tepid demand. One of the warmest winters on record has damped demand for the fuel used to heat about half of U.S. homes.
Stocks fell Monday, with financial shares leading a retreat from last week’s highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has shed nearly 150 points since Wednesday, when investors’ optimism about the U.S. economy powered the blue-chip index past 21000 for the first time.
The Dow industrials fell 37 points, or 0.2%, to 20954 on Monday. The S&P 500 lost 0.3% to2375 and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.3% to 5849.