Corn followed wheat higher Thursday morning. Corn futures fluctuated little overnight, but have followed wheat marginally higher today. The weekly USDA Export Sales report had little impact. Traders may also be thinking Tuesday’s breakdown in reaction to the USDA stocks and planting intentions report was overdone. May corn futures rose 3.5 cents to $3.8525/bushel late Thursday morning, while December added 2.75 to $4.095.
Today’s soy action seems confused. Competing influences are apparently affecting the soy complex. For example, the Export Sales report stated very low old-crop bean sales last week, but old-crop meal and new crop bean and meal totals were rather impressive. Moreover, the USDA’s daily reporting system indicated a 118,000 tonne sale to an unknown destination, although the fact that it was for 2015/16 probably reduced its impact. Ultimately, talk of incipient Argentine production appears to be weighing on prices. May soybean futures slumped 3.5 cents to $9.8625/bushel as the lunch hour loomed Thursday, while May soyoil bounced 0.19 cents 30.88 cents/pound, and May meal dropped $3.5 to $328.4/ton.
The wheat markets are bumping up against chart resistance. Today’s data on wheat export sales were not impressive, but seemingly did little to discourage bulls. Talk of persistent southern Plains dryness reportedly powered the morning rise. Bullish interests are almost surely hoping to push the nearby contracts through major chart resistance at slightly higher levels, thereby potentially triggering a big follow-through rally. May CBOT wheat climbed 11.0 cents to $5.395/bushel in late Thursday morning action, while May KC wheat vaulted 11.5 cents to $5.835/bushel, and May MWE wheat moved up 6.25 to $5.9675.
Beef strength is apparently boosting cattle futures. The cattle industry is clearly expecting a sizeable seasonal price drop during late spring and summer. However, cash and wholesale quotes have persistently refused to end their traditional March-April price rally, which in turn is pulling the Chicago market higher as well. June cattle futures surged 0.95 cents to 153.17 cents/pound around midsession Thursday, while August cattle rallied 0.60 to 149.77 cents/pound. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures jumped 0.90 cents to 217.55 cents/pound, and August feeders ran up 0.47 to 218.40.
Bird flu news may have undercut CME hogs. The USDA announced this morning that a fourth Minnesota farm and one in South Dakota had been found to be infected with highly pathogenic ‘bird flu.’ While this doesn’t directly affect the hog industry, the potential for more foreign embargoes and increased domestic broiler supplies dampened hopes for renewed pork demand. June hog futures tumbled 0.65 cents to 75.60 cents/pound just before lunchtime Thursday, while December sagged 0.37 to 66.60.
Talk of reduced inventories seemed to trigger cotton buying. The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) reportedly reduced its projection for global inventories this year, thereby seeming to provide a modest boost to fiber prices overnight, with the gains growing this morning. The market seemed to ignore what looked like poor cotton numbers on the weekly Export Sales report. May cotton advanced 0.82 cents to 63.40 cents/pound just before noon (EDT) Thursday, while December futures gained 0.60 to 64.51.