The corn market couldn’t sustain its early bounce. 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. Nevertheless, yellow grain prices sagged again by late morning. March corn sank 4.5 cents to $3.6875/bushel just before lunchtime Thursday, while July slid 3.75 to $3.8525.
Soybeans and meal traded firmly Thursday morning. 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. Conversely, weak energy and palm oil markets are exaggerating weakness in the soyoil market. March soybean futures inched up 0.25 cent to $9.685/bushel late Thursday morning, while March soyoil dove 0.76 to 29.59 cents/pound, whereas March meal gained $2.1 to $339.5/ton.
The 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, which implicitly increased those prices 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 be boosting prices. March CBOT wheat bounced 3.5 cents to $5.0875/bushel around midsession Thursday, while March KC wheat surged 8.5 to $5.4425/bushel, and March MWE wheat jumped 8.5 to $5.635.
Nearby cattle futures continued their recent bounce. Ideas that recent weakness across the cattle/beef sector have been overdone may be supporting cattle futures at this point. The fact that the nearby contracts have seemingly overcome technical resistance associated with their 10-day moving averages may also be encouraging bulls. However, futures set back from their early highs in apparent response to big wholesale losses this morning. February live cattle futures advanced 0.82 cents to 154.77 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Thursday and April cattle lifted 0.47 cents to 151.97 cents/pound. January feeder cattle futures edged up 0.10 cents to 212.55, and March feeders climbed 0.32 cents to 204.67.
Big pork losses are depressing hog futures. The hog market seemingly gave 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 rather clearly reversed the Chicago market’s early gains. February hog futures plunged 1.87 cents to 69.65 cents/pound in late Thursday morning action, while June hogs dropped 0.92 cents to 83.65.
Cotton futures also rose modestly Thursday morning. 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 rose 0.05 cents to 59.49 cents/pound just after noon (EST) Thursday, while the July contract added 0.10 to 61.14.