Ag markets again proved very volatile Thursday

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Corn futures followed beans and wheat lower Thursday afternoon. The corn market again traded sideways trading Thursday morning, with the strong sales result (929,400 tonnes) on the weekly Export Sales report doing little to shift prices. However, the soybean market’s inability to hold its big midsession advance apparently prompted a concerted drop in grain/soy prices. March corn dipped 7.5 cents to $4.48/bushel at Thursday’s close, while May tumbled 6.5 to $4.545.

The soy complex reversed dramatically from early highs. Soybeans posted a surprising advance in the early morning hours, then accelerated upward after the Export Sales report was released. However, the market apparently lost its upward momentum at that point, which prompted a drastic midsession reversal. Indeed, this bodes rather ill for the short-term technical outlook. March soybeans dove 13.75 cents to $13.935/bushel as Thursday’s trading ended, while March soyoil lost 0.30 cents to 40.90 cents/pound, and March soymeal sank $4.3 to $464.0/ton.

The wheat markets also turned sharply lower Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated last week’s wheat result slightly above forecasts, which apparently supported golden grain futures in early trading. However, U.S. wheat was excluded from the subsequent Egyptian announcement of the purchases in its latest tender, thereby seeming to confirm talk that American grain is too expensive. The soy breakdown exaggerated the decline. March CBOT wheat futures plunged 17.75 cents to $5.825/bushel in late Thursday action, while March KCBT wheat futures fell 16.75 cents to $6.6225, and March MWE futures dropped 14.75 to $6.555.

Cattle futures also prove surprisingly weak Thursday afternoon. Rising beef prices caused beef packers to pay up for fed cattle Wednesday, with Nebraska cattle reportedly trading at a record of $152/cwt (cents/pound). Nearby futures spiked upward and continued rising in early trading, but only the expiring February future proved able to sustain its gain. April cattle futures closed 0.07 cents lower at 144.45 Thursday, while August slumped 0.12 to 132.60. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle skidded 0.17 cents to 171.82 cents/pound, and May stumbled 0.52 lower to 173.97.

Hog futures seemingly soared on a Russian report. Ongoing cash gains apparently spurred hog futures to extraordinary highs Thursday morning. A report that Russia will end its ban on U.S. pork on March 10 apparently added fuel to the fire, despite the fact that this news actually came out before the Sochi Olympics started. April hogs rocketed up 2.82 cents to 103.82 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while June jumped 1.57 to 109.92.

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