Livestock Futures Gain on Tight Short-term Supplies

Cattle futures ended higher Monday as higher prices for beef are expected to lure packers to the market at a time when cattle are lean.

February Live cattle rose 162 to settle at $125, the April contract gained 55 to $115, and March feeders gained 215 to $123.

Lean hogs for April rose 10 to 68.12, the contract’s second session of gains driven by a rebound in pork belly prices. Pork belly stocks are down 77% from a year ago and stocks dropped lower last week, surprising some traders and supporting the market.  May lean hogs gained 5 to 74.02.

Grain and soybean futures sank to multiweek lows Monday as widespread selling weighed on agricultural markets. Corn and wheat slid to roughly one-month lows as traders booked profits following rallies in the grain markets at the beginning of the month, and commodity funds liquidated bullish bets.  Soybeans fell to a more than 6-week low, buffeted by largely benevolent weather in South America, which is driving crop forecasts higher and spreading concern over demand for U.S. supplies.

March Chicago wheat slid 12 1/2 to $4.18, March KC Wheat fell 9 ¾ to $4.44, March corn fell 3 3/4 to $3.60, and March soybeans dropped 2 1/2 to $10.11.

Cotton futures started the week mixed with the March contract gaining 4 to 73.52, and May falling 45 to 76.12.

Crude oil futures pared gains but settled higher Monday as investors continued to weigh rising U.S. crude production against high levels of compliance with OPEC’s production cut agreement.

U.S. crude futures rose 6 cents to $54.05 a barrel, gasoline futures rose 1.79 cents to $1.53 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose a fraction to $1.63 a gallon.

Natural gas prices dropped Monday amid a warmer shift in the most recent weather forecasts.  April Natural gas fell 9.4 cents to $2.69

Stocks on Wall Street ended slightly higher on Monday and the Dow hit a record high close for a 12th straight session as President Donald Trump said he would make a “big” infrastructure statement today.  The Dow gained 15 to 20,837, the Nasdaq closed at 5,861, up 16 and the S&P 500 gained 2 to 2,369.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.