Corn diverged from the general ag markets gains Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report was almost unanimously supportive of the crop markets today, with corn result seeming quite strong. A concurrent decline in the value of the U.S. dollar probably encouraged commodity buying as well. However, talk of favorable planting conditions and profit-taking depressed CBOT quotes by the close. May corn futures settled down 1.75 cents to $3.7075/bushel Thursday, while December lost 3.0 to $3.945.
Brazilian strike news probably boosted the soy complex. The soybean and product totals on the Export Sales report met expectations, so they probably exerted little influence over prices. Indeed, the main impetus for today’s advance almost surely came from news that Brazil’s truckers are once again disrupting transport in that country after failing to gain concessions from the government or trucking companies. Meal also threatened to break out of its recent downtrend. May soybean futures climbed 7.75 cents to $9.7725/bushel as the CBOT pit session ended Thursday, while May soyoil ran up 0.46 cents to 32.02 cents/pound, and May meal added $1.1 to $316.6/ton.
The wheat markets turned mixed in late Thursday trading. The wheat markets proved quite firm Wednesday night and remained strong after the export data were released. While last week’s sales weren’t huge, they easily topped industry expectations. Persistent KC strength suggested concern about conditions in the southern Plains, but other markets posted mixed closes. Wire service sources could only quote ‘technical selling’ for the late slide. May CBOT wheat futures slipped 1.0 cent to $4.9775/bushel at Thursday’s close, while May KC wheat advanced 4.5 cents to $5.165/bushel, and May MWE wheat gained 1.5 to $5.4525.
Cattle futures turned sharply higher Thursday. Cattle futures didn’t perform well early this week, especially after scattered cash trading at lower levels yesterday. However, bears couldn’t trigger a hoped for follow-through breakdown this morning, which apparently opened the door for a big reversal. Active short-covering and midsession beef strength apparently powered the move. June and August cattle futures zoomed up the 3.00-cent daily limit to 149.02 and 147.85 cents/pound, respectively in late Thursday action. Meanwhile, May and August feeder cattle futures rocketed up the expanded 4.50-cent limit and posted respective closes at 211.25 and 212.95 cents/pound.
Resurgent pork quotes spurred big CME hog gains as well. The pork markets performed rather poorly early this week, but midday pork reports confirmed early-morning talk of big gains today. That news, along with bullish technical implications of today’s surge, almost surely triggered active Chicago buying. June hog futures ended Thursday having spiked 2.37 cents to 78.32 cents/pound, while December surged 1.62 to 68.65.