Ag markets proved quite firm Wednesday night

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Talk of strong demand supported corn futures Wednesday night. The corn market traded firmly Wednesday, due in part to early news of sizeable export sales. Indeed, traders now seem to believe U.S. prices have fallen to the point to render them very attractive to global customers, so they’re looking for more of the same. March corn rose 1.25 cents to $4.445/bushel in early Thursday trading, and May added 1.5 to $4.49.

Soybeans and oil also edged upward overnight. The industry seems unsure as to how to interpret the South American soy situation, since logistical problems seem likely to limit the flow of their record soybean crop to the global market. Wire service reports suggest overnight strength reflected the tightness of the domestic situation. Soyoil prices got a boost from the Asian palm market. March soybeans gained 1.75 cent to $13.18/bushel Wednesday night, while March soyoil climbed 0.37 cents to 38.60 cents/pound, but March soymeal dipped $0.2 to $441.8/ton.

Wheat futures remained firm Thursday morning. After suffering from talk of huge global supplies for weeks, wheat futures have recently rebounded in response to concerns about U.S. winter wheat prospects. Traders worry about re-emergent dryness in the southern Plains and freeze damage in the Midwest. It’s unclear why the spring wheat market is leading the way higher at the moment. March CBOT wheat futures slipped 0.5 cent to $5.87/bushel in pre-dawn Thursday action, while March KCBT wheat futures advanced 1.25 cents to $6.525, and March MWE futures ran up 4.5 to $6.34.

Limited marketings supplies appear to be support cattle prices. CME cattle traders seemingly became more optimistic about short-term price prospects Wednesday, due largely to ideas that wintry weather is exacerbating the current cyclical and seasonal shortage of market-ready fed cattle. Futures edged higher overnight despite another big drop in beef cutout values. The industry is awaiting the results of this week’s cash trading. April cattle futures crept up 0.05 cents to 139.15 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while August skidded 0.02 cents to 129.62. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle lifted 0.02 cents to 166.95 cents/pound, and May edged up 0.12 to 168.45.

Hog futures sustained Wednesday’s hog strength. Russia will reportedly return to the U.S. market as a pork buyer next month, thereby potentially tightening what was already viewed as a likely hog and pork shortage. CME prices surged in response yesterday. And while late afternoon cash and wholesale reports weren’t especially supportive, they didn’t discourage traders from buying again last night. April hogs inched up 0.02 at 95.12 cents/pound as Thursday dawned over Chicago, and June rallied 0.27 to 105.67.

Rebounding equities seem to be boosting cotton futures. Cotton futures again rose in concert with the equity markets Wednesday night. That’s rather impressive, especially when viewed in light of another surge in certificated stocks. ICE officials reported another big surge in certificated stockpiles (up 10,065 to 188,752 running bales) Wednesday afternoon, which implies industry willingness to deliver against expiring March futures. March cotton surged 0.54 cents to 86.06 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Thursday, while July cotton rose 0.62 to 86.26.

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