Sorghum news may have supported corn futures Thursday. The U.S. dollar remained very strong today, thereby tending to exert downward pressure upon the crop markets. The weekly USDA Export Sales report seemed somewhat supportive of the corn market, but one has to wonder if early news of a 108,000-tonne sorghum sale to an unknown destination encouraged corn bulls as well. May corn futures closed up 1.0 cent at $3.905/bushel Thursday, while December rose 0.25 to $4.14.
Soy meal prices proved relatively firm. As with the grains, the soy results of the Export Sales report were decent but not outstanding, which apparently weighed on Chicago prices. Talk of flat soy quotes at Gulf ports seemingly supported the meal market. Big overnight palm oil losses depressed soyoil, with beans also appearing to feel downward pressure. Talk of deliveries against the expiring March contract may have exaggerated the selling. May soybean futures slumped 8.5 cents to $9.855/bushel at Thursday’s close, while May soyoil dropped 0.64 cents to 31.57 cents/pound, and May meal slipped $1.9 to $325.2/ton.
The wheat markets continued Wednesday’s decline. Ongoing U.S. dollar gains are very likely hurting wheat export prospects, especially with the golden grain already viewed as being comparatively expensive on global markets. The FAO also boosted its global wheat and cereal production and carryout forecasts overnight, thereby adding to the selling pressure. The Export Sales result seemingly did little to halt the slide. May CBOT wheat dove 15.5 cents to $4.805/bushel in late Thursday trading, while May KC wheat fell 10.25 cents to $5.17/bushel, and May MWE wheat sank 7.25 to $5.585.
Cattle futures struggled after opening strongly. As expected, cattle futures opened sharply higher in the wake of Wednesday’s big advance. However, bulls couldn’t sustain the gains in nearby futures, thereby suggesting the industry remains quite doubtful of beef demand strength this spring and summer. April cattle futures settled 0.78 cents lower at 153.27 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while August cattle skidded 0.22 cents to 144.15 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures jumped 1.00 cent to 205.37 cents/pound, and August feeders vaulted 1.55 to 206.92.
CME hogs also ran into resistance Thursday. Wednesday’s rally in nearby April hog futures was impressive, since it suggested renewed industry optimism despite recent spot weakness. Bulls proved unable to build upon the rally this morning, which almost surely reflected midday reports of sizeable pork losses. April hog futures dropped 1.17 cents to 66.82 cents/pound as Thursday’s CME pit session ended, while June hogs tumbled 1.15 to 80.40.
Today’s bearish export data took a toll on cotton futures. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated last week’s cotton result at -62,500 bales, meaning buyers cancelled previous commitments for that amount. The minimal ICE reaction suggested the recent decline culminating in Tuesday’s breakdown had largely anticipated that news. However, bulls couldn’t sustain the support, with prices sliding into the ICE close. May cotton ended Thursday having declined 0.37 cents to 63.23 cents/pound, while December futures sagged 0.29 to 64.74.