Ag markets moved mostly higher Thursday morning
Strong export data supported corn futures Thursday morning. Today’s weekly USDA Export Sales report stated both old and new-crop corn sales above industry expectations, thereby suggesting the recent rally has rendered U.S. grain attractive to international customers. Futures couldn’t sustain the subsequent bounce, but news of a passenger plane crash in Ukraine reignited industry concerns about Black Sea supplies. September corn bounced 3.0 cents to $3.8125/bushel late Thursday morning, while December rose 2.5 cents to $3.8925.
Talk of Chinese buying may be boosting the beans and meal. The Export Sales report stated last week’s bean and meal sales within the range of pre-report estimates, but the numbers did look somewhat supportive. And unlike corn, CBOT futures sustained a significant portion of the post-report rally. That seemingly reflects an industry response to widespread talk of accelerated Chinese buying. August soybean futures rallied 4.5 cents to $11.9175/bushel shortly before lunchtime Thursday, while November futures moved up 5.0 cents to $11.07. August soyoil slipped 0.01 cents to 36.82 cents/pound, while August soymeal added $2.3 to $386.0/ton.
Wheat exports disappointed, but Ukraine news sparked a resurgence. In contrast to the bullish corn total, the new-crop wheat result on today’s USDA Export Sales report seemed disappointing, since the actual figure fell well short of pre-report forecasts. Traders bullish about the domestic situation are apparently being overrun by bears worried about the over-supplied global outlook. However, the Ukrainian plane crash clearly has traders worried about the Black Sea situation. September CBOT wheat rebounded 11.5 cents to $5.495/bushel in late-morning action, while September KC wheat jumped 12.5 cents to $6.4975/bushel, and September MWE wheat ran up 7.0 cents to $6.35/bushel.
Steady cash trading is boosting cattle futures. Despite early-week wholesale weakness, packer buyers bought a few central Plains cattle at steady-weak levels Wednesday afternoon. That news almost surely triggered the overnight surge and today’s sustained gains, since traders had expected a significant decline instead. August live cattle leapt 2.05 cents to 149.72 cents/pound around midsession Thursday, while December rallied 1.12 cents to 153.17. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle jumped 1.37 cents to 211.20 cents/pound, and October climbed 1.10 to 211.77.
CME hogs reversed on demand pessimism Thursday morning. Hog futures tried to follow cattle futures higher last night, but bearish expectations reasserted themselves today. Hog supplies will probably remain very tight through midsummer, but traders clearly think the recent demand surge will end soon. August hog futures plunged 1.80 cents to 128.72 cents/pound in late Thursday morning action, while December tumbled 1.32 cents to 102.67.
Cotton futures couldn’t sustain their post-report bounce. The weekly Export Sales report stated last week’s new-sales at an impressive 347,000 tonnes, which apparently triggered a sizeable post-report rally. However, the shipments data was quite poor, thereby seeming to drag prices lower once again. December cotton slid 0.14 cent to 67.50 cents per pound around midday (EDT) Thursday, while March futures dropped 0.18 to 68.12 cents/lb.