Corn futures traded lower Wednesday. The weekly EIA report indicated a modest slowdown in ethanol production last week, while stocks grew. That seemed to keep price pressure on the corn market and later appeared to spur technical selling in response to the March contract’s inability to top its 10-day moving average. Having the U.S. dollar rally didn’t help the bullish cause either. March corn fell 8.0 cents to $3.7325/bushel at Wednesday, while July lost 8.0 to $3.89.
The soy complex posted mixed closes. The EIA report looked bearish for the energy sector, with the resulting break in crude oil futures seeming to spur aggressive selling in the soyoil pit. Meanwhile, demand for soymeal apparently remains quite robust, as indicated by the modest gains sustained through much of the day. The soyoil dive also dragged beans lower. March soybean futures settled 3.5 cents lower at $9.7025/bushel Wednesday, while March soyoil plummeted 0.83 to 30.34 cents/pound, but March meal rose $0.8 to $337.4/ton.
Weather forecasts seemed to sink the wheat markets. Global wheat markets are seen as being very well supplied. Moreover, prospects for forthcoming crops seem promising, especially after major winter wheat production areas in the US and the Black Sea region were predicted to receive helpful precipitation in the days ahead. Fresh dollar strength also seemed to undercut U.S. wheat as well. March CBOT wheat dove 13.75 cents to $5.0525/bushel in late Wednesday trading, while March KC wheat tumbled 14.5 cents to $5.3575/bushel, and March MWE wheat sank 11.5 to $5.55.
Livestock traders may believe the recent breakdown has ended. Beef cutout values plunged Tuesday afternoon, as did pork quotes. And yet, nearby CME livestock futures firmed on today’s opening then marched upward. The bullish cattle response to bearish news at least suggests the industry had anticipated the beef news and might easily represent ideas that the recent livestock sector breakdown has run its course. February live cattle futures surged 1.12 cents to 153.95 as Wednesday’s CME pit session ended and April cattle climbed 0.50 cents to 151.50 cents/pound. January feeder cattle futures leapt 1.67 cents to 212.45, and March feeders rallied 0.52 cents to 204.35.
Hog futures also posted a big Wednesday surge. Although cash hog prices were mixed-to-weak again Tuesday afternoon, pork cutouts suffered a major drop. As one would expect, CME futures fell on today’s opening, but they then staged a stunning reversal led by the mid-year contracts. As in the cattle markets, this suggests the industry thinks the breakdown is ending. February hog futures ended Wednesday having jumped 2.1 cents to 71.52 cents/pound, while June hogs soared the 3.00-cent limit to 84.57.
Short-covering reportedly boosted cotton. Little cotton news has emerged since the CBO published its estimate of U.S. plantings Monday afternoon. Thus, it wasn’t terribly surprising that ICE futures values declined early this morning, given Tuesday’s equity market breakdown, as well as the concurrent crop market weakness and today’s U.S. dollar strength. Conversely, the midsession bounce was impressive, due in part to talk that it was driven by short-covering. March cotton futures rebounded 0.66 cents to 59.44 cents/pound at Wednesday’s ICE close, while the July contract advanced 0.64 to 61.04.