Corn futures edged upward Thursday morning. The latest news seems generally supportive of corn price, with a South Korean firm make a big overnight purchase, an IGC forecast for a 5% drop in global production in 2015/16 and support spilling over from the soybean market. However, the weekly Export Sales report came in at the lower end of expectations and the U.S. dollar is threatening to reach fresh 11-year highs, which probably limited early gains. March corn futures gained 4.25 cents to $3.80/bushel around midsession Thursday, while July added 4.75 to $3.965.
Soymeal futures lagged beans and oil at midday. Despite Wednesday’s Brazilian crackdown on the ongoing truckers strike, talk that disruptions have continued boosted the soy complex again this morning. The results of the USDA Export Sales report didn’t help the bullish cause, with the soybean figure disappointing and the meal total actually turning negative. Rising palm oil prices seemingly overshadowed early energy market losses for soyoil traders. March soybean futures climbed 13.75 cents to $10.215/bushel just before lunchtime Wednesday, while March soyoil moved up 0.24 cents to 31.95 cents/pound, and March meal rose $2.5 to $353.0/ton.
The wheat markets were supported by corn & beans. Thursday’s early Export Sales date seemed rather favorable for wheat futures, since the indicated totals moderately exceeded expectations. The IGC also kept its estimate of global production well below the latest USDA figure. However, ideas that U.S. grain are overpriced, as well as the cost increase implied by today’s U.S. dollar surge appeared to keep pressure on the markets. However, the late-morning surge in corn and beans seemed to boost wheat as well. March CBOT wheat bounced 2.5 cents to $5.0025/bushel late Thursday morning, while March KC wheat fell 4.0 cents to $5.2425/bushel, and March MWE wheat stabilized at $5.5275.
Cattle futures again followed beef higher. Wholesale beef prices continued their early-week surge Wednesday, with the latest gain finally seeming to persuade CME cattle traders that packers were likely to pay at least steady prices for fed cattle this week. That makes nearby futures look cheap. April cattle futures soared 2.65 cents to 149.50 cents/pound shortly before lunchtime Thursday, while August cattle vaulted 1.85 cents to 141.37 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures leapt 2.65 cents to 199.62 cents/pound and May feeders jumped 2.55 to 198.12.
Slumping pork values are undercutting CME hogs. Cash hog quotes have turned sharply higher this week, as exemplified by forecasts for tomorrow’s quote for the CME index (for Wednesday) will rise 1.32 cents to 63.38 after having bottomed at 60.27 cents last Thursday. However, pork prices have posted stunning losses this week, thereby undermining bullish hopes for late winter. April hog futures dove 1.25 cents to 68.07 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Thursday, while June hogs tumbled 1.25 to 82.72.
The export data may have driven Thursday morning cotton action. As suggested previously, midweek cotton slippage seemed to anticipate a weak result on today’s Export Sales report. Sales for the current marketing year fell far below recent figures. Conversely, the 2015/16 figures was comparatively large, which looks very encouraging given the expected cutback in U.S. and global plantings this year. Futures seemingly reacted accordingly, with March futures slipping and deferred prices rising. March cotton slid 0.07 cents to 65.45 cents/pound just after noon (EST) Thursday, while July futures rallied 0.31 to 66.21.