The forecast for more Midwest rain seemed to strengthen the grain markets Thursday. The crop markets lost momentum yesterday in the face of technical resistance and ended lower. However, weather concerns and resistance in the US Dollar index may have contributed to the upswing in grains. July corn rose 4.5 cents to $3.635/bushel at the close Thursday, and December gained 4.25 cents to $3.81.
Soybeans shot higher Thursday on concerns about weather-driven planting delays. Talk of more than expected rainfall in coming weeks might have caused the late morning surge as traders considered the effects on the final planting push for soybeans. Meal continued tracking with beans, whereas soyoil consolidated its recent EPA-driven surge. July soybean futures gained 11 cents settling at $9.465/bushel at the end of trading Thursday, while July soyoil dipped 0.20 cents to 34.53 cents/pound, and July meal rose $3.0 to $305.7/ton.
Wheat futures also seemed to ride the weather story today over wetness and crop condition concerns, especially in the Southern Plains. This resumed the upward trend from this week asserting the fact that wheat is on track a third gain in the last four sessions. Also, some reports of low test weights and weak yields from some early harvested fields in Texas seemed to add bullishness. July CBOT wheat futures spiked 13 cents to close at $5.2375/bushel on Thursday, while July KC wheat advanced 11.5 cents to $5.4075/bushel, and July MWE wheat gained 12.75 to $5.7525.
Live cattle futures traded higher presumably on the USDA report on boxed beef values that suggested firmness. This is consistent with firm country cattle prices that have tended to pull discounted CME futures higher in recent weeks. This is welcome news for producers as beef prices are now suffering their traditional spring swoon, which could potentially depress cattle prices as they did Wednesday afternoon. August cattle futures edged 1.05 cents higher to 151.52 cents/pound wrapping up trading Thursday afternoon, while December futures gained 0.625 cents to 154.34. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures were up .85 cents to 222.75 cents/pound, and November feeders climbed 0.27 to 218.15.
Hog futures headed lower again Thursday. While CME hogs performed well early this week, they proved unable to break out above major chart resistance at modestly higher levels. That technical failure, as well as midweek losses at both the cash and wholesale levels, seemed to spark long liquidation and short selling. August hog futures declined 1.92 cents to close at 79.57 cents/pound Thursday, while December sank 1.57 to 66.5.
Cotton futures traded mostly higher Thursday then closed with nearby futures close to neutral. After reacting very weakly to supportive news over the weekend, cotton futures turned upward at midweek and continue climbing today. Ongoing U.S. dollar losses could be favoring export demand for the fiber. Forecasts for southern Plains dryness could be supporting supply concerns as Texas plantings have been much slower than normal. July cotton closed 0.01 cents lower to 65.23 cents/pound late Thursday morning, and December futures lifted 0.07 to 65.35.