Fed statements sank the dollar and supported markets Thursday afternoon. Talk of improved spring weather weighed on the crop markets this morning, but general market pessimism also played a role in undercutting corn futures. Today’s USDA Export Sales report looked quite supportive of yellow grain values, but prices reacted little. However, a Fed bank president discussed the U.S. economy today, with statements about inflation and interest rate hikes apparently depressing the dollar and boosting markets. Corn futures ended the day mixed to higher. May corn futures closed up 0.25 cent at $3.7625/bushel Thursday, while December slipped 0.25 to $400.25.
The soy complex proved narrowly mixed. The Export Sales report indicated a surprisingly large soybean total last week, with meal sales seeming rather strong as well. However, the bullish response wasn’t sustained in early trading. Improved short-term rainfall prospects probably hampered bulls, as did general pessimism. The late dollar drop apparently sparked increased bullish interest. May soybean futures ending Thursday having crept 1.0 cent higher to $9.66/bushel, while May soyoil sank 0.04 cents to 31.76 cents/pound, and May meal gained $0.9 to $312.4/ton.
Wheat futures diverged at Thursday’s close. Today’s wheat export numbers seemed rather bearish, as did the latest weather forecasts and general commodity sector sentiment. Afternoon dollar weakness and rebounding markets probably played a role in Chicago firmness, but the KC and MWE contracts posted sizeable losses. May CBOT wheat rose 3.75 cents to $4.945/bushel in late Thursday trading, while May KC wheat sank 6.25 cents to $5.0825/bushel, and May MWE wheat dropped 8.25 to $5.35.
Cattle futures traded firmly Thursday. Deeply discounted CME cattle prices posted a big technical surge to start this week, but proved unable to top short-term moving average resistance Wednesday afternoon. Still, the big beef gains posted yesterday clearly encouraged bullish ideas about this week’s likely cash market action. Futures ended moderately higher. June cattle futures rallied 0.32 cents to 152.00 cents/pound at the Chicago close, while August cattle advanced 0.67 to 149.67 cents/pound. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures climbed 0.57 cents to 213.00 cents/pound, and August feeders lifted 0.45 to 214.67.
Recent spot gains supported CME hogs. The large premiums built into Chicago hog prices may make sustained spring advances somewhat difficult. Conversely, life gets easier for bulls if the cash and wholesale markets are surging. That’s been the case lately, although midsession pork slippage probably limited today’s comeback from Wednesday’s big breakdown. June hog futures surged 0.90 cents to 76.37 cents/pound at Thursday’s settlement, while December jumped 1.00 to 68.40.