Corn futures rallied Thursday. The latest news seems generally supportive of corn prices, with a South Korean firm making a big overnight purchase, an IGC forecast for a 5% drop in global production in 2015/16 and support spilling over from the soybean market. However, the weekly Export Sales report came in at the lower end of expectations and the U.S. dollar threatened to reach fresh 11-year highs, which probably limited gains. March corn futures gained 4.25 cents to $3.80/bushel at Thursday’s close, while July added 4.75 to $3.965.
The Brazilian situation again boosted the soy complex. Despite Wednesday’s Brazilian crackdown on the ongoing truckers strike, talk that disruptions have continued boosted the soy complex again today. Slow fuel shipments to the interior and possible harvest delays seemed most important. The results of the USDA Export Sales report didn’t help the bullish cause, with the soybean figure disappointing and the meal total actually turning negative. Dropping crude prices didn’t help the soyoil market either. Bulls dominated anyway. March soybean futures ended Thursday having climbed 16.25 cents to $10.24/bushel, while March soyoil moved up 0.13 cents to 31.84 cents/pound, and March meal rose $4.1 to $354.6/ton.
The wheat markets followed corn & beans higher. Thursday’s early Export Sales data seemed rather favorable for wheat futures, since the indicated totals moderately exceeded expectations. The IGC also kept its estimate of global production well below the latest USDA figure. Ideas that U.S. grain are overpriced, as well as the cost increase implied by today’s U.S. dollar surge applied keep pressure on the markets. But the late-morning surge in corn and beans seemed to boost wheat as well. March CBOT wheat bounced 5.5 cents to $5.0325/bushel in late Thursday trading, while March KC wheat fell 4.0 cents to $5.2425/bushel, and March MWE wheat stabilized at $5.5275.
Cattle futures again followed beef higher. Wholesale beef prices continued their early-week surge through midday Thursday, with the gains finally seeming to persuade CME cattle traders that packers were likely to pay at least steady prices for fed cattle this week. That made nearby futures look cheap. April cattle futures soared 2.95 cents to 149.80 cents/pound shortly as the CME pit session ended Thursday, while August cattle vaulted 2.27 cents to 141.80 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures leapt 3.32 cents to 200.30 cents/pound and May feeders zoomed up 3.35 to 198.92.
Slumping pork values undercut CME hogs. Cash hog quotes have turned sharply higher this week, as exemplified by forecasts for tomorrow’s quote for the CME index (for Wednesday) will rise 1.32 cents to 63.38 after having bottomed at 60.27 cents last Thursday. However, pork prices have posted stunning losses this week, thereby undermining bullish hopes for late winter. April hog futures plunged 2.17 cents to 67.15 cents/pound late Thursday afternoon, while June hogs tumbled 1.35 to 82.62.