Corn futures are trading slightly higher at midday. Corn futures was higher early on stronger than expected weekly export sales and higher wheat and soybeans. Early gains faded a bit as profit-taking set in. Export sales totaled 44.2 million bushels and USDA officially confirmed corn sales of 15.5 million bushels to China that were only partially acknowledged last week. May corn is 1 cent higher at $6.57 3/4 and December is 3 1/4 cents higher at $5.47 1/2.
Soybean futures are trading higher at midsession. The old-crop months are extending gains from trading late on Wednesday while the new-crop is bouncing back. USDA reported weekly old-crop export sales totaling over 400,000 tonnes. Those sales marked the seventh consecutive week of above average old-crop sales. New-crop sales exceeded 700,000 tonnes and total sales topped 1.1 million, which were well above expectations. The May contract is 10 cents higher at $14.29 1/2 and November is 5 cents higher at $13.80 1/2.
Wheat futures are trading mixed at midday Thursday. The outside markets that were down so hard yesterday are rebounding today, leading grain traders to suspect yesterday’s losses in wheat were overdone. The frost threat continues to abate in the U.S. and more rain relief for dry areas of Europe are keeping any rally potential in check. In fact, only KCBT futures are higher across the board. At CBOT and MGE, deferred contracts are showing small additional losses to yesterdays double-digit losses. CBOT May is 2 cents higher at $6.41 1/4, KCBT May is 4 1/4 cents higher at $6.73 3/4, and MGE May is 1/2 of a cent higher at $8.46 1/4.
Cattle futures are higher at midday. Short covering ahead of the three day weekend has supported the rally. Futures are deeply oversold and due for a bounce, but the recovery is limited by lower beef prices and lower cash trade this week. Dressed trade in Nebraska on Wednesday ranged from $193 to $194, down $8 to $9 from last week. On a live basis prices in southern Plains prices were from $120 to $122, down $3 to $5 from a week ago. April cattle futures are 80 cents higher at $118.70 and June is up 58 cents at $115.70.
Lean hog futures are trading higher at midday. Both cash hog prices and pork prices edged up on Wednesday, but they remain very low and they will need to improve pretty significantly just to get into the same neighborhood as the May contract. Hog weights are creeping up suggesting a backlog of heavy weight hogs. Pork demand should benefit from the “pink slime” uproar affecting demand for hamburger and broiler production continues to decline. Hog prices should start to improve in the coming weeks but not much progress is expected before the weekend. The April contract is up 85 cents at $84.70 and June is $1.10 higher at $93.10.