Export data seemed to undercut the corn market. Thursday’s weekly USDA Export Sales report stated corn sales well below expectations, thereby depressing CBOT futures. Recent U.S. dollar gains have apparently taken a toll on exports. Traders may be thinking this week’s greenback surge to fresh highs will further depress trade. May corn futures settled 2.5 cents lower at $3.885/bushel Thursday, while December sank 2.5 to $4.1175.
The soy complex posted generally weak Thursday closes. The Export Sales report indicated disappointing results for soybeans and the products last week, which exerted general price pressure. Soybeans surged in concert with wheat in midmorning action, but the bulls couldn’t sustain the move. May soybean futures ended Thursday having dipped 2.25 cents to $9.905/bushel, while May soyoil followed palm oil lower, losing 0.23 cents to 30.87 cents/pound, and May meal slipped $1.7 to $331.6/ton.
Wheat export data proved surprisingly robust. Wheat industry talk this winter has centered upon the relatively high cost of U.S. grain to international customers, so it would have been easy to assume last week’s result would be quite poor. And while the sales total at 445,200 tonnes wasn’t outstanding, it matched the upper end of pre-report forecasts. Prices then leapt in response to the fact that the report indicated China had made its largest purchase of U.S. spring wheat in about two years. May CBOT wheat jumped 8.25 cents to $5.0725/bushel in late Thursday trading, while May KC wheat ran up 5.75 cents to $5.465/bushel, and May MWE wheat gained 2.5 to $5.695.
Spreading bird flu rattled cattle traders Thursday. Despite talk that fed cattle will trade higher again this week, as well as the fact that beef quotes were mixed at noon, traders rather clearly worried the current ‘bird flu’ outbreak will badly undercut the livestock and meat markets, thereby causing confused trading among the various cattle contracts. April cattle futures rose 0.20 cents to 155.80 cents/pound as CME pit session concluded Thursday, while August cattle skidded 0.05 cents to 144.62 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures slid 0.20 cents to 212.90 cents/pound, but August feeders climbed 0.37 to 212.67.
Bird flu worries depressed the hog market. The hog and pork complex has obviously been dealing with excessive supplies and weak demand lately. Traders apparently fear the situation will worsen if the domestic market is swamped by chicken due to ‘bird flu’ inspired export embargoes. April hog futures plunged the 1.82 cents to 62.30 cents/pound at Thursday’s close, while June hogs tumbled 0.42 to 75.77.