Corn futures traded narrowly mixed Wednesday night. Little substantive news concerning corn emerged overnight, so it was rather surprising to see yellow grain prices decline while the soy and wheat complexes firmed. We wonder if the same talk of Plains dryness supporting wheat undercut corn, since spring dryness could facilitate early planting and a larger 2015 crop. May corn futures rose 0.25 cent to $3.9125/bushel early Thursday morning, while December stalled at $4.1425.
The soy complex seems to be reacting to Brazilian news. Asian palm weakness undermined the soyoil market overnight, while beans and meal edged upward. Wire service sources continued citing diminished South American production prospects, particularly the fact that Brazil’s CONAB cut its domestic bean estimate Tuesday. Traders may also be reluctant to push the markets prior to this morning’s weekly USDA Export Sales report. May soybean futures gained 3.0 cents to $9.9575/bushel Wednesday night, while May soyoil skidded 0.01 cent to 31.09 cents/pound, and May meal inched up $1.3 to $334.6/ton.
Talk of southern Plains dryness offered renewed support for the wheat markets. Ideas that winter wheat in the U.S. southern Plains is starting to grow in relatively dry conditions seemed to boost the Chicago and KC markets Wednesday. Little changed overnight, so traders were citing the same factor for modest follow-through gains in winter wheat prices. May CBOT wheat rallied 5.5 cents to $5.045/bushel in early Thursday morning trading, while May KC wheat moved up 3.5 cents to $5.4425/bushel, and May MWE wheat stabilized at $5.67.
Cattle traders may be looking for seasonal strength. General concern about the cattle and beef outlook has apparently depressed CME cattle futures lately. However, talk of another cash market rise later this week seemed to encourage renewed buying of nearby futures Wednesday. Afternoon GLOBEX trading was also firm, thereby seeming to presage opening strength. April cattle futures ended Wednesday having jumped 0.85 cents to 155.60 cents/pound, while August cattle ran up 0.60 cents to 144.67 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures vaulted 2.60 cents to 213.10 cents/pound, and August feeders soared 3.17 to 212.30.
Short-term pessimism continued weighing on CME hogs Wednesday. In contrast to the bullishness now seen in nearby cattle futures, hog traders are clearly pessimistic about short-term hog and pork prospects. The downtrend seems likely to continue until consistently supportive spot market news begins emerging. News that ‘bird flu’ had been found in an Arkansas turkey flock may have depressed prices, with traders thinking export embargoes will undercut chicken & pork prices. Today’s opening looks bearish. April hog futures tumbled 1.85 cents to 64.12 cents/pound as Wednesday’s pit session ended, while June hogs plunged 2.47 to 76.20.
Cotton futures rebounded from technical support overnight. The cotton market has not performed well lately, as exemplified by the May contract’s dip to the pivotal 60-cent level overnight. But prices bounced strongly from that point. The fact that equity index futures rebounded while the U.S. dollar gave back a sizeable portion of Wednesday’s surge probably encouraged bulls. Traders may also be looking for better export news on today’s Export Sales report. May cotton advanced 0.79 cents to 61.12 cents/pound around sunrise Thursday, while December futures climbed 0.86 to 63.25.