Export data seemed to undercut the crop markets. This morning’s weekly USDA Export Sales report stated corn sales well below expectations, thereby depressing CBOT futures. Recent U.S. dollar gains have apparently taken a toll on exports. Traders may be thinking this week’s surge to fresh highs will further depress trade. May corn futures slid 2.0 cents to $3.89/bushel late Thursday morning, while December sank 2.0 to $4.1225.
The soy complex is trading mixed. The Export Sales report indicated disappointing results for soybeans and the products last week, which exerted general price pressure. Soybeans surged in concert with wheat in midmorning action, but the bulls couldn’t sustain the move. May soybean futures rose 0.25 cent to $9.93/bushel just before lunchtime Thursday, while May soyoil followed palm oil lower, losing 0.25 cents to 30.85 cents/pound, and May meal slipped $0.3 to $333.0/ton.
Wheat export data proved surprisingly robust. Wheat industry talk this winter has centered upon the relatively high cost of U.S. grain to international customers, so it would have been easy to assume last week’s result would be quite poor. And while the sales total at 445,200 tonnes wasn’t outstanding, it matched the upper end of pre-report forecasts. Prices then leapt in response to a story that China had just made its largest purchase of U.S. spring wheat in years. May CBOT wheat jumped 9.0 cents to $5.08/bushel in late Thursday morning trading, while May KC wheat ran up 6.75 cents to $5.475/bushel, but May MWE wheat sagged 3.25 to $5.7025.
Spreading bird flu is rattling livestock traders. Despite talk that fed cattle will trade higher again this week, as well as the fact that beef quotes were mixed at noon, traders rather clearly suspect the ‘bird flu’ outbreak will badly undercut the livestock and meat markets, thereby triggering sizeable CME cattle losses this morning. April cattle futures slumped 0.62 cents to 154.97 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Thursday, while August cattle tumbled 0.95 cents to 143.72 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures dove 1.42 cents to 211.67 cents/pound, and August feeders fell 1.17 to 211.12.
Bird flu worries are depressing the hog market. The hog and pork complex has obviously been dealing with excessive supplies and weak demand lately. Traders apparently expect the situation to worsen if the domestic market is swamped with chicken due to ‘bird flu’ inspired export embargoes. April hog futures plummeted the 3.00-cent daily limit to 61.12 cents/pound around midsession Thursday, while June hogs plunged 2.70 to 73.5.
Cotton futures set back from overnight highs. The cotton market has not performed well lately, as exemplified by the May contract’s dip to the pivotal 60-cent level Thursday night. However, prices rebounded strongly in early trading, possibly due to concurrent equity index strength and U.S. dollar slippage. The Export Sales result was much better than recent figures, but wasn’t outstanding either, which seemingly triggered a setback toward Thursday’s lows. May cotton edged up 0.13 cents to 60.46 cents/pound shortly before noon (EDT) Thursday, while December futures added 0.16 to 62.55.