Ag contracts posted divergent close on Wednesday

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Corn futures closed weakly Wednesday. Anticipation of a record U.S. corn crop and good results for other crops reportedly exerted persistent downward pressure upon corn futures again today. The weekly EIA energy report didn’t help, since it indicated reduced ethanol production and rising stocks last week. December corn futures closed 3.75 cents lower at $4.2125/bushel late Wednesday, while May lost 3.75 cents to $4.395.

Short covering probably exaggerated Wednesday’s soy gains. Soybean and meal prices rallied moderately today, which probably reflected general short-covering and position squaring ahead of Friday’s USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports. Wire service reports also cited cash firmness and strong underlying demand, whereas sliding palm oil prices dragged soyoil prices downward. January soybean futures rose 4.75 cents to $12.55/bushel in late Wednesday trading, while December soyoil skidded 0.01 cent to 41.14 cents/pound, and December soymeal added $4.0 to $397.5/ton.

The wheat markets apparently suffered from selling spilling over from corn. Although traders don’t expect Friday’s Crop Production report to directly affect wheat, the WASDE results might. Those considerations seemingly sparked early short-covering, but wheat futures ended Wednesday weakly. Traders cited weakness spilling over from the corn market. December CBOT wheat futures dipped 2.75 cent to $6.5325/bushel at their Wednesday settlement, while December KCBT wheat futures dropped 5.75 cents to $7.165, and December MWE futures slid 1.5 to $7.1225.

Cattle traders may be uncertain about this week’s cash outcome. Beef prices aren’t acting particularly well at this juncture, thereby keeping pressure upon CME cattle futures. However, general knowledge of tight cattle and beef supplies are probably lending the market a bullish bias. December cattle futures settled 0.02 cents lower at 132.02 cents/pound Wednesday, while April futures crept up 0.07 to 134.22. January feeder cattle advanced 0.47 cents to 165.55 cents/pound, while March feeders rallied 0.42 cents to 165.37.

Cash strength may have limited losses in hog futures today. Across-the-board Tuesday losses in the cash and wholesale markets almost surely depressed CME prices Wednesday. However, midsession cash quotes proved surprisingly firm, which probably kept morning futures losses from widening substantially. December hog futures sank 0.90 cents at 87.35 cents/pound at Wednesday’s close, while April tumbled 0.80 to 92.85.

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