U.S. lean-hog futures finished narrowly higher Monday, supported by an uptick in wholesale pork prices. February lean-hogs added 35 to 87.17 cents, April hogs, the most actively traded contract, rose 12 to 89.05
Live-cattle futures rose sharply Monday on tight supply forecasts and news that Japan will ease limits on U.S. beef imports. February live-cattle gained 265 to $128 the highest closing price in almost two weeks. April live-cattle, the most actively traded contract, jumped 265 to $133.
At the livestock auction held Friday in Siler City a total of 427 cattle and 49 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mostly steady; bulls were not established.
Corn futures settled higher Monday amid weather threats for Argentina's crops and a report showing higher export shipments of U.S. corn. Soybean futures ended higher, supported by near-term supply tightness, consistent export demand and Argentina crop uncertainties. Wheat futures finished higher, drawing support from strength in corn and soybeans.
March corn rose 8 1/2 to $7.29, March soybeans finished up 6 3/4 at $14.47, March wheat in Chicago ended up 2 3/4 at $7.79, and Kansas City Board of Trade March wheat climbed 3 1/4 to $8.32.
U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended mostly eight to nine cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.49-$8.04 at feed mills and $7.39-$7.89 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended six to seven cents higher and were $14.47 at processors, and $13.66-$14.33 at elevators. New crop U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat was $6.93-$7.46. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $465.30 per ton for 48% protein.
Fruit and vegetable prices (shipping point f.o.b.): Greens: Supply fairly light. Demand moderate. Market about steady. Various containers bunched/loose Collard, Kale, Mustard, and Turnip Tops $6.50-$7 occasional higher. Sweet Potatoes: Demand moderate. Market about steady. 40 pound cartons Orange Types U.S. No. 1 $13-$15 few higher and lower, U.S. No. 1 Petite $10-$12 few higher and lower, U.S. No. 2 $7-$9 occasional higher and lower, No Grade Marks jumbo $6-$8 mostly $6-$7 few lower occasional higher.
China's cotton auctions have gone from bad to worse, with just 29% on offer from Beijing sold during the week ended Jan. 25, versus 55% during the previous week. Such lackluster domestic demand for Chinese government cotton creates a rosy outlook for US exports to the No. 1 consumer over the next few weeks, as Chinese mills continue to source better quality fiber from abroad. But, if prices on ICE climb much above 81c/lb, the attractiveness of importing US cotton could wane, since Chinese mills have to pay a hefty 40% duty, among other expenses, to import the ex-import quota cotton. March cotton fell 11 to 80.41, and the May contract gained 53 to 81.01.
Gold futures settled lower Monday, locking in a four-day losing streak, as some investors shed futures positions ahead of the start of a Federal Reserve policy meeting. February gold fell $3.70 to $1,652.90, and March silver closed at $30.78, down 42.6 cents.
Crude-oil futures posted modest gains Monday, settling at a 19-week high, while concerns over tight mid-Atlantic gasoline supplies pushed futures up for an eighth straight day. March crude oil gained 56 cents to $96.44 a barrel, February gasoline jumped 5.94 cents to $2.93, and February distillates fell a fraction to $3.06 a gallon.
Natural gas futures plunged Monday in their largest decline in three months, as they were pressured by forecasts for warmer weather and lower gas demand. February Natural gas fell 15.5 cents to $3.28.
U.S. stocks spent the day moving between small gains and losses, cooling off after a rally that had pushed the S&P 500 above 1,500 for the first time since December 2007. Encouraging news about manufacturing provided an early boost, but stocks fell later after a report on the pace of home sales fell short of expectations. The Dow fell 14 points to 13,881, the S&P 500 lost two points to 1,500, and the Nasdaq composite rose four to 3,154.