Ag markets generally strong Thursday morning

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Corn futures bounced Thursday despite general pessimism. Corn ended 2013 on a weak note, due largely to reports of ample rainfall over Argentine corn and soybean fields. However, prices rebounded modestly this morning, which seemed particularly impressive when recent problems getting product into China are considered. Wire service sources simply cited short-covering and technical buying for the bounce. Both March and May corn futures rose 1.5 cents Thursday morning, reaching $4.235 and $4.3175/bushel, respectively.

The soy complex remained under pressure this morning. The implications of good weekend rainfall in Argentine kept downward upon the soy complex Thursday morning. That fact that local sources also boosted their forecasts for the forthcoming Argentine crop probably played a bearish role as well. Soymeal reportedly suffered from pessimism about domestic demand strength as well. March soybeans dove 19.25 cents to $12.7325/bushel by late Thursday morning, while March soyoil slumped 0.23 cents to 38.90 cents/pound, and March soymeal tumbled $9.1 to $407.9/ton.

Wheat markets gave back their New Year’s Eve gains. Last minute short covering and concerns about U.S. winter kill seemingly boosted wheat markets on the last day of 2013. However, prices reversed to the downside this morning, with talk that overnight snowfall will protect Midwest wheat from predicted arctic temperatures during the days ahead. March CBOT wheat futures fell 7.75 cents to $5.975/bushel around midsession Thursday, while March KCBT wheat futures dropped 7.0 cents to $6.335, and March MWE futures sank 7.75 to $6.275.

Anticipation of seasonal strength seemingly boosted cattle futures. CME cattle prices suffered a surprising setback Tuesday, which seemingly held bearish technical connotations. However, ideas that arctic weather could hurt the performance of feedlot cattle and exaggerate the traditional winter rally appeared to spur renewed buying today. Wholesale strength may also be encouraging buying. February cattle futures bounced 0.42 cents to 135.05 cents/pound just before lunchtime Thursday, while April futures added 0.42 to 135.72. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures surged 0.55 cents to 167.95 cents/pound, and May advanced 0.57 to 169.25.

Tuesday’s cash and wholesale strength probably sparked early hog gains. After suffering a stunning reversal from post-Hogs-&-Pigs-report highs Monday, hog futures have subsequently recovered. Tuesday afternoon reports of cash firmness and big wholesale gains probably encouraged bulls looking for much more of the same on a seasonal basis. February jumped 1.12 cents to 86.55 cents/pound late Thursday morning, and June climbed 0.60 to 100.75.


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