Traders seemingly thought Wednesday’s grain losses were overdone today. Corn and wheat futures tumbled yesterday in apparent response to forecasts for drier weather next week, with the yellow grain decline putting the market at its lowest levels since last October. Talk of firm spot quotes as farmers work fields and ignore old-crop sales seemed to spark renewed bullishness. July corn futures rallied 4.0 cents to $3.535/bushel at Thursday’s close, while December added 3.25 to $3.70.
Soyoil diverged from sagging beans and meal Thursday. Persistent concern about the Argentine labor situation and that country’s ability to ship product probably provided background support for soy prices again today. Asian palm oil boosted boost soyoil quotes in early trading, but midsession news of a big April biodiesel production surge lent the market fresh strength. One has to suspect good planting and growing conditions and the prospect of a huge fall crop weighed beans and meal. July soybean futures skidded 1.0 cent to $9.26/bushel as the CBOT pit session wound down Thursday, while July soyoil climbed 0.33 cents to 32.06 cents/pound, and July meal slid $3.3 to $304.8/ton.
Wheat markets ended Thursday on a mixed note. After tumbling yesterday, wheat futures traded mixed to higher today. Contrary news out of Russia after Wednesday’s bearish forecasts probably encouraged bulls, with U.S. weather forecasts seeming to take a back seat. One suspects traders saw the latest prediction for the northern Plains as less favorable, since the Minneapolis market proved comparatively firm. July CBOT wheat futures ended Thursday, 1.0 cent higher at $4.8875/bushel, while July KC wheat slipped 1.75 cents to $5.1025/bushel, and July MWE wheat gained 1.25 to $5.47.
Cattle futures posted impressive Thursday gains. Although wholesale beef prices proved weak this morning, cattle futures seemed to ignore that bearish influence and surged rather dramatically. The market give the strong impression that cash cattle prices are holding up much better than previously thought, thereby forcing discounted futures upward. June live cattle futures jumped 1.02 to 153.50 cents/pound in late Thursday action, while August cattle leapt 1.32 to 152.75. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures soared 3.52 cents to 224.95 cents/pound, and November feeders vaulted 2.35 to 220.27.
Growing cash market firmness boosted CME hogs. Hog and pork traders have been anticipating seasonal price weakness through early June, but this week’s cash market action is apparently proving much stronger than anticipated. Nearby futures also seem to be threatening a technical breakout to the upside. June hog futures surged 0.82 cents to 84.60 cents/pound as CME prices settled Thursday, while December moved 0.30 to 70.10.