Financial market action apparently depressed the ag markets Wednesday. News that Argentine farmers are planning a three-day selling strike to protest government policies might have supported U.S. grain and soy markets overnight, since that might shift buyer interest back to the U.S. However, the crop markets suffered general losses, which probably reflected equity market weakness and the concurrent U.S. dollar index surge to a fresh 11-year high, both of which are negative for demand. May corn futures dipped 1.5 cents to $3.895/bushel late Wednesday trading, while December lost 2.75 to $4.1375.
The soy complex posted across-the-board losses. Although Brazil’s transport problems appear to be easing, overnight news of the planned Argentine farmer strike seemed supportive of bean and meal futures. Nevertheless, the soy markets accompanied the grains lower as equity indexes sank and the dollar climbed last night. The complex remained weak all day. May soybean futures fell 19.75 cents to $9.89/bushel as Wednesday’s CBOT session ended, while May soyoil tumbled 0.76 cents to 32.21 cents/pound, and May meal slid $5.7 to $327.1/ton.
Wheat markets couldn’t sustain Tuesday’s gains. Farmer selling to meet March 1 bills reportedly played a big role in recent wheat losses, whereas the end of that selling apparently powered yesterday’s futures rally. Bulls couldn’t build upon Tuesday’s strong advance, due in part to the fact that export prospects remain poor. Having the dollar surge to fresh highs is also reminding traders of the relative expense of U.S. wheat. May CBOT wheat dove 15.25 cents to $4.935/bushel at their Wednesday close, while May KC wheat sank 8.0 cents to $5.2725/bushel, and May MWE wheat sagged 5.0 to $5.6575.
Cattle futures rebounded strongly from early lows. Tuesday’s bearish momentum carried cattle futures sharply lower upon today’s opening, but the fact that the cash and wholesale markets remain strong, and that the former are priced well above nearby futures, apparently powered a strong rebound after April futures tested support in the 150-cent/pound area. April cattle futures leapt the 3.00-cent daily limit to 154.05 cents/pound Wednesday, while August cattle vaulted 2.30 cents to 144.37 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April and August feeder cattle futures soared the 3.00-cent limit to close at 207.22 and 205.37 cents/pound, respectively.
Hog futures also came back from Wednesday morning lows. Recent signs of weakness in the cash hog and wholesale markets had depressed CME hog futures, although the losses weren’t as large as suggested by some reports. That may be one reason CME hogs rebounded strongly from today’s early losses. Midsession news of pork strength likely encouraged bulls as well. April hog futures ended Wednesday having jumped 2.40 cents to 68.00 cents/pound, while June hogs surged 1.02 to 81.55.