Corn vaulted the $4.00/bushel level Thursday night. Little market-moving news concerning corn emerged overnight, which strongly suggests the March CBOT contract’s surge past the $4.00/bushel level was largely driven by technical buying. Bears had recently proven unable to force the nearby future under its short-term moving averages, which provided a springboard for the advance. Ultimately, huge supplies are being met by strong demand. March corn futures jumped 7.75 cents to $4.0625/bushel early Friday morning, while July surged 8.0 to $4.205.
Soyoil diverged from the general crop market advance. Although Thursday’s Export Sales numbers weren’t terribly supportive of soy complex prices, they did little to discourage traders convinced that global soy demand remains extremely robust. Beans and meal continued yesterday’s rise overnight, but persistent crude weakness is seemingly undercutting the soyoil market. January soybean futures advanced 8.0 cents to $10.5025/bushel in early Friday trading, while January soyoil slumped 0.07 cents to 31.95 cents/pound, and January meal gained $3.0 to $374.5/ton.
The wheat markets joined the bullish party as well. The current global wheat situation is well supplied, but traders apparently worry that 2015 conditions will be less liquid. Fresh talk of Russian export restrictions apparently powered Thursday’s late advance and probably encouraged buying again last night. The bullish leadership provided by the corn market likely played a role as well. March CBOT wheat vaulted 10.0 cents to $6.075/bushel Thursday night, while March KC wheat ran up 8.0 cents to $6.355/bushel and March MWE wheat climbed 7.0 to $6.2225.
Cattle futures held up well in the face of cash weakness. Panhandle cattle didn’t trade last week, which probably added pressure to regional prices. Wire services reported a plunge from $172/cwt (cents/pound) two weeks ago to $164 Thursday morning. That’s about $2.00 lower than last week’s Nebraska prices. Traders sold actively in response, but the nearby contract proved surprisingly firm late in the day. Late spot weakness may bode ill for today’s opening. February live cattle dipped 0.27 cents to 162.57 cents/pound at Thursday’s CME close, while April tumbled 0.80 to 162.10. January feeder cattle futures plunged 3.00 cents to 228.60 cents/pound, as did January feeders, to 224.25.
The hog and pork complex continued struggling Thursday. After inching higher the past two days, the CME lean hog index is expected to slip when officially quoted today. Yesterday’s futures losses and the discounts already built into early-2015 futures indicate traders expect a supply glut and weak demand during the coming weeks and months. Afternoon spot quotes seemingly confirmed bearish views, thereby implying another weak opening. February hog futures ended Thursday having dipped 0.20 cents at 84.35 cents/pound, while June hogs fell 0.80 cents to 91.85.
Chinese news may be encouraging cotton market bulls. Thursday’s export sales data was supportive and probably emboldened bulls already encouraged by Wednesday’s USDA cut to the U.S. cotton production estimate. Overnight news that Chinese officials will leave their cotton import quota unchanged may also have spurred buying. March cotton futures rose 0.39 cents to 60.87 cents/pound just after sunrise Friday, while the July contract moved up 0.36 to 62.02.