Corn futures firmed Thursday night. The corn market seemed to be dragged downward by weakness spilling over from the soy and wheat markets yesterday, with the big U.S. dollar surge also weighing on prices. Prices rebounded slightly overnight, possibly due to the supportive nature of the USDA WASDE report and to short-covering before the weekend. May corn futures rose 0.25 to $3.7825/bushel early Friday morning, while December added 0.25 to $4.0325.
The soy complex is starting Friday on a mixed note. Thursday’s WASDE report had little impact upon the soybean and product markets overnight, but the weekly Export Sales results seemed to weigh heavily upon prices. In fact, nearby bean futures dipped to fresh 2015 lows. Soybean and meal prices firmed, but oil remained weak last night. May soybean futures edged up 0.25 cent to $9.5375/bushel Thursday night, while May soyoil dipped 0.02 cents to 30.82 cents/pound, and May meal gained $0.4 to $312.5/ton.
The wheat markets generally declined last night. Talk that China has ordered 2.0 million tonnes of wheat from Ukraine in early 2015 seemed to weigh somewhat upon wheat futures overnight, although the recent improvement in the weather over several major wheat growing areas has apparently shifted market sentiment to the bearish side. May CBOT wheat skidded 1.25 cents to $5.175/bushel in early Friday trading, while May KC wheat sagged 1.75 cents to $5.4975/bushel, and May MWE wheat slid 1.5 to $5.725.
Cattle futures edged upward Thursday. The cattle industry rather obviously expects a major seasonal decline this spring and summer, but the cash and wholesale markets have shown few signs of weakness lately. Indeed, this week’s beef firmness may presage another rise in cash cattle prices. That may be why futures ended the day modestly higher. Conversely, afternoon choice beef losses may translate into a soft Friday morning opening. June cattle futures gained 0.12 cents to 151.57 cents/pound as the CME pit session ended Thursday, while August cattle rose 0.12 to 148.67 cents/pound. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures bounced 0.22 cents to 213.70 cents/pound, and August feeders crept 0.10 higher to 215.02.
Hog futures seemed to suffer from pragmatic selling. The spring and summer CME hog contracts have traded firmly lately, but have developed little upward momentum. Indeed, today’s general Chicago decline seemed to reflect traders selling in spite of midsession spot market firmness. On the other hand, the sheer size of today’s U.S. dollar rally may have depressed hog market bulls hoping for a resurgence in export demand. June hog futures sagged 0.30 cents to 76.80 cents/pound as the closing bell rang Thursday, while December tumbled 0.37 to 67.60.
Cotton futures ended Thursday mostly lower. Cotton futures fluctuated rather widely prior to the release of the monthly WASDE report, with position squaring, U.S. dollar strength and bearish export data leaving futures mixed as the report came out. The USDA boosted its estimate of 2014 U.S. production 220,000 bales, with the bulk of that rise feeding through to projected carryout and implying larger supplies and lower prices. May cotton dropped 0.51 cents to 66.22 cents/pound at Thursday’s ICE settlement, while December futures skidded 0.01 to 65.96.