The corn market stabilized in late-Thursday trading. General pessimism seemed to weigh on corn futures Wednesday night, but the market staged a quick comeback in response to another sizeable total on the USDA’s weekly Export Sales report. Firming wheat and bean markets, as well as a bounce in the equity indexes all seemed likely to provide spillover support. March corn settled just 1.75 cents lower at $3.715/bushel Thursday, while July slid 1.25 to $3.8775.
Soyoil seemed to drag the soy complex lower Thursday. Underlying soymeal demand apparently remains quite robust, as indicated by persistently elevated spot values and another sizeable result on the weekly Export Sale report. The soybean sales figure fell well short of some of the totals seen in recent weeks, but it easily topped industry expectations this morning. However, weak energy and palm oil markets, as well as the recent EPA decision on Argentine soyoil, exaggerated weakness in the soyoil market, which spilled over into beans and meal. March soybean futures slid 2.0 cents to $9.6825/bushel in late Thursday trading, while March soyoil dove 0.80 to 29.54 cents/pound, whereas March meal gained $0.5 to $337.9/ton.
Export news seemed to spur today’s wheat rally. Ideas that U.S. wheat is overpriced have recently been exacerbated by the U.S. dollar rally, since increased the implicit price even further. That led to low expectations for the weekly Export Sales report, which in turn probably exaggerated the bullish market response to the surprisingly large USDA result. Widespread short-covering and technical buying may also have boosted prices. March CBOT wheat bounced 2.5 cents to $5.0775/bushel at Thursday’s close, while March KC wheat surged 8.25 to $5.44/bushel, and March MWE wheat rose 4.25 to $5.5925.
Nearby cattle futures couldn’t sustain their recent bounce. Ideas that recent weakness across the cattle/beef sector have been overdone supported cattle futures early this week. However, Tuesday’s beef losses and news of southern Plains cash slippage apparently dragged CME prices lower. The fact that nearby futures held up comparatively well might be a point in the bulls’ favor. February live cattle futures ended Thursday having sagged 0.42 cents to 153.52 cents/pound and April cattle fell 1.00 cent to 150.50 cents/pound. March feeder cattle futures slumped 0.77 cents to 203.57, and May feeders tumbled 1.20 cents to 204.70.
Big pork losses depressed hog futures. The hog market seemingly sent signals signs of bottoming Tuesday and Wednesday, which gave hope to long-suffering bulls. However, today’s midsession pork reports indicated another big wholesale drop, which quickly reversed the Chicago market’s early gains. February hog futures plummeted 2.97 cents to 68.55 cents/pound at their Thursday settlement, while June hogs dropped 0.95 cents to 83.62.
Cotton futures rose modestly Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated the cotton sales total at 546,200 bales, which marked another high for the current crop year. And yet, ICE futures reacted quite modestly, despite the additional impetus provided by rebounding equities. Actually, if one assumes that the rally begun late last week reflected improved industry optimism about the demand situation, today’s muted reaction makes considerable sense. March cotton futures closed 0.13 cents higher at 59.49 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while the July contract added 0.25 to 61.29.