The crop markets showed early Thursday strength. The U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) reduced its prediction for 2014 small grain carryout approximately 2% overnight, which probably played a significant role in boosting the crop markets. When combined with talk that the storm system now moving across the Great Plains will bring strong winds with it, thereby posing a danger to drying corn stalks, the news spurred corn futures upward. December corn futures rose 2.0 cents to $4.41 in early Thursday action, and May gained 1.75 cents to $4.615/bushel.
The soy complex continued Wednesday’s rebound. Although the FAO’s small grains report didn’t apply to soybeans, it seemed to encourage bulls in the legume market as well. Talk of the anticipated Midwest storm later today may also have sparked buying, since it could cause significant delays in the soybean harvest. November soybeans rallied 7.0 cents to $12.8075/bushel soon after dawn Thursday, while December soyoil bounced 0.36 cents to 39.74 cents/pound, and December soymeal ran up $2.4 to $414.1/ton.
The ongoing wheat rally persisted in early Thursday trading. The FAO’s forecast of a lower small grains carryout next year very likely encouraged fresh wheat buying this morning. That seems especially apt in the current environment, where so many interests are apparently seeing vigorous export demand boost golden grain prices. December CBOT wheat advanced 5.0 cents to $6.91 bushel early Thursday morning, while December KCBT wheat edged up 2.75 cents to $7.5725, and December MGE futures added 5.0 cents to $7.5175.
Cattle futures proved rather weak overnight. The lack of USDA information continues hampering the livestock markets, with many traders apparently opting to stand aside at this time. Still, there are private sources of information available (for a price). We harbor suspicions that they indicated wholesale beef weakness Wednesday afternoon. December cattle futures slipped 0.22 cents to 131.60 cents/pound as the sun rose over Chicago Thursday, while April sank 0.42 cents to 134.50. Meanwhile, November feeder cattle dipped 0.12 cents to 166.07 cents/pound, and January rallied 0.27 to 165.50.
Hog futures moved mostly higher early Thursday morning. Again, the lack of USDA news is very likely limiting activity in the hog pit. Still, talk of steady prices at the various country markets probably supported CME prices. We also suspect wholesale pork prices held up rather well Wednesday. December hog futures climbed 0.30 cents to 86.47 cents/pound in early action Thursday, while April crept up 0.20 cents to 89.40.
Cotton followed the other crop markets higher again this morning. There was no obvious news powering the move, although ICE officials did announce that they would set the standards for cotton delivered against the expiring contract if the USDA was unable to perform that routine function. Ultimately, ideas that forthcoming weather could damage the unharvested crop seem to be supporting prices. December cotton inched up 0.03 cents to 86.90 cents/pound just after sunrise Thursday, while March rose 0.05 to 86.84.