Ag markets moved mostly higher Thursday

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Traders cited ethanol demand and excess rains for rising corn futures Thursday. Although corn seemed to follow wheat higher Wednesday night, yellow grain prices performed much better today. Wednesday’s record EIA ethanol production total implied robust corn demand. Conversely, traders now worry that recent excessive rains are hurting prospects in the western Corn Belt. Poor Export Sales results may limit gains. July corn climbed 9.0 cents to $4.505/bushel at Thursday’s close, while December added 8.0 to $4.475.

Good old-crop export news seemingly sparked fresh soy strength. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated last week’s old-crop soy sales at 97,700 tonnes, which fell only slightly below the top industry estimate. That news apparently triggered an across-the board advance, despite weak new-crop sales. As in the corn pit, bulls reportedly bought new-crop futures in response to wet conditions in the western Corn Belt. July soybeans advanced 11.0 cents to $14.20/bushel to end Thursday’s CBOT session, while July soyoil rebounded 0.48 cents to 40.61 cents/pound, but July soymeal skidded $2.0 to $451.2/ton.

The wheat markets turned mixed Thursday. Poor harvest results from Kansas and talk of improved export demand boosted wheat futures in early Thursday action, but bulls could only partially sustain the upward momentum. The omnipresence of the bearish global situation probably stifled rally attempts. July CBOT wheat futures settled up 6.5 cents to $5.935/bushel in late Thursday trading, while July KCBT wheat gained 1.5 cents to $7.2925, and July MWE futures advanced 5.75 to $7.03.

CME cattle reacted to fresh cash strength. Live cattle futures fell early this week as traders seemed to anticipate a return of seasonal weakness. However, soaring beef prices apparently caused packers to pay up for southern Plains cattle today, which sent futures soaring once again. August cattle spiked 2.45 cents to 147.47 cents/pound at their Thursday settlement, while December jumped 1.55 to 150.77. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures soared 2.70 cents to 207.35 cents/pound and October spiked 2.97 to 208.67.

Cash and wholesale developments may have limited Thursday’s hog gains. Hog futures apparently found technical support Wednesday, then surged today in response to good late-afternoon cash and pork news. However, today’s midday reports were flat to lower, thereby seeming to limit the size of the CME rally. August hog futures ended Thursday having vaulted 2.47 cents to 129.75, while December zoomed up 2.75 cents to 97.00.

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