USDA Reports Do No Favors for Corn & Soybeans

Hog futures ended the trading session narrowly lower, amid signs of sluggish U.S. meat shipments to export markets and worries that a rising U.S. dollar will continue to crimp demand.

April hogs pared losses to decline 10 to 65.97, June hogs slid 62 to 78.67.

The cattle market, meanwhile, reversed early losses to settle higher on the day, as traders watched for signs of near-term demand for beef products. Last week, packers demonstrated stronger-than-expected demand for cattle, paying as much as $162 in some regions, which is sharply higher than the front-month futures contract.

April live-cattle advanced 75 to $154, June cattle picked up 10 to $146, Feeder-cattle futures for March rose 252 to $212.

Corn futures closed lower Tuesday, retreating from modest gains marked after federal forecasters projected tighter-than-expected stockpiles of the grain.

Soybean futures declined after the USDA maintained its forecasts for U.S. stockpiles on Aug. 31 to total 385 million bushels. Analysts had expected the government to trim estimates to 379 million bushels, while wheat prices rose on investor buying after the USDA report showed lower-than-expected U.S. and global stockpiles.

March Corn slipped 1 to $3.82, March soybean futures dropped 8 1/4 to $9.80, March Chicago wheat futures gained 2 1/4 to $4.96, and March KC wheat gained 5 ¾ to $5.34.

Cotton prices slumped to a one-month low Tuesday after USDA raised its forecast for global inventories of the fiber. Cotton prices have closed lower for eight straight sessions as speculative traders cut back bullish wagers while mills have been reluctant to buy. May cotton fell 13 to 60.87, and the July contract also fell 13 to 61.46.

Gold fell to its lowest price in nearly four months on Tuesday, as traders saw little reason to buy the metal amid a strengthening U.S. economy and potentially higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

Gold for April delivery, the most actively traded contract, slipped $6.40, or 0.6%, to $1,160.10, and May silver closed at $15.63, down 14.3 cents.

Oil prices slid Tuesday on expectations that U.S. crude stockpiles hit another record high last week.

April crude fell $1.71 to $48.29 a barrel, Gasoline futures fell 6 cents to $1.81 a gallon, and April Diesel futures fell 2.2 cents to $1.81 a gallon

Natural gas prices bounced back Tuesday after a day of big losses and an improving outlook for demand.  April Natural gas gained 5.4 cents to $2.73.

On Wall Street, stocks dropped on Tuesday, giving the S&P 500 its biggest decline in two months, on increasing views the Federal Reserve may raise rates as soon as June.  The Dow plunged 332 to 17,662, the Nasdaq closed at 4,859, down 82, and the S&P 500 dropped 35 to 2,044.'

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.