Ag commodities were mixed once again Wednesday night

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Corn futures edged upward Wednesday night. Little fresh news concerning the yellow grain situation emerged last night. The CBOT market seemed to follow wheat higher while shrugging off concurrent bean slippage. Technical buying at moving average support may be supporting prices. One also has to wonder if Chinese position squaring ahead of their New Year celebrations is boosting prices. March corn rose 1.25 cents to $4.2875/bushel early Thursday morning, while May added 1.0 to $4.35.

Anticipation of increasing South American supplies is again depressing soybeans. It will probably be a while before South American soybeans hit the global market, but expectations for a record Brazilian crop are rather clearly weighing upon CBOT futures. Meal prices also slipped last night, but Asian palm strength lent support for soyoil values. March soybeans slid 3.25 cents to $12.66/bushel Wednesday night, whereas March soyoil bounced 0.10 cents to 37.20 cents/pound, and March soymeal lost $2.9 to $420.4/ton.

Wheat markets bounced from Wednesday’s lows. The various wheat markets suffered sizeable losses Wednesday, with technical selling at the fresh lows likely exaggerating the move. Thus, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see short-covering appear to be boosting prices this morning, especially given the lack of fresh news. March CBOT wheat futures rallied 4.5 cents to $5.56/bushel in early Thursday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures gained 2.75 cents to $6.115 and March MWE futures moved up 2.0 to $6.00.

Diving beef prices are undercutting cattle futures. After rocketing upward in mid-January, wholesale beef prices have fallen almost as sharply the past two days. Thus, beef packers will very likely cut their bids for country cattle accordingly. As one would expect, CME traders are reacting rather poorly to this shift. February cattle futures sank 0.27 cents to 141.80 cents/pound in pre-dawn Thursday action, while the April contract tumbled 0.27 cents to 140.25. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle fell 0.47 cents to 168.75 cents/pound, and May dropped 0.50 to 169.35.

Dipping cash and wholesale values are causing early Thursday hog slippage. Hog futures surged Wednesday in apparent response to renewed hopes for robust seasonal gains over the next 2-3 weeks. However, cash prices were narrowly mixed yesterday afternoon, while pork values dipped. Actually, the limited losses posted by the nearby contract last night is rather impressive, but cash strength is needed to justify futures premiums. February hogs skidded 0.10 cents to 86.42 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while June was stalled at 103.32.

Rising stocks could depress cotton futures Thursday. Recent cotton strength has apparently persuaded the industry to deliver product against futures when the March contract expires next month. That seems to be the message behind the overnight jump in certificated stocks, from 76,075 bales to 136,657 last night. ICE values dipped in overnight action, but might prove vulnerable to larger losses as a consequence. March cotton slipped 0.12 cents to 85.43 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Thursday, while July cotton sagged 0.18 to 86.12.

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