Ag markets proved quite volatile Thursday morning

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A US warning to China over the corn trade seemed to depress futures. Corn futures remained under pressure in early Thursday trading, despite a favorable result on the weekly USDA Export Sales report. Growing wheat losses apparently weighed on the yellow grain. The decline accelerated later in the morning, which may have reflected a USDA warning to China that it’s repeated rejections of U.S. grain could result in future premiums on American corn, which would probably hurt those exports. May corn fell 8.5 cents to $4.7925/bushel late Thursday morning, while December lost 7.25 to $4.8125.

The soy complex suffered a technical reversal. Soybean and meal futures built upon overnight gains in early Thursday trading, since the supportive meal result on the Export Sales report was seconded by an announced bean sale to China for 2014/15 delivery. However, nearby bean futures failed at last week’s highs, which in turn seemed to spark active technical selling. Meal sustained modest gains through midmorning, but oil futures fell sharply. May soybeans lost 2.75 cents to $14.285/bushel around midsession Thursday, while May soyoil plunged 1.16 cents to 40.94 cents/pound, but May soymeal gained $3.2 at $465.2/ton.

The wheat markets remained weak Thursday morning. After southern Plains dryness and Black Sea production/shipment concerns powered recent gains, wheat futures turned downward last night and continued sliding this morning. The Export Sales data was mediocre, which may also have encouraged bears as well as long liquidation. May CBOT wheat futures dove 14.5 cents to $7.0125/bushel in late Thursday morning action, while May KCBT wheat futures dropped 10.75 cents to $7.775 and May MWE futures tumbled 8.25 to $7.5275.

Sliding beef prices seemed to spark cattle losses around midsession. Cattle traders are apparently uncertain about likely short-term cash market direction, so they’re quite sensitive to shifts in beef cutout values. Those extended their Wednesday losses when reported late Thursday morning, thereby appearing to spark aggressive CME selling. April cattle futures sank 0.30 cents to 145.82 cents/pound just before lunchtime Thursday, while August fell 1.15 cents to 134.20. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle sagged 0.50 cents to 176.15 cents/pound, and August stumbled 1.10 lower to 178.70.

Hog futures remained quite mixed. Cash hog prices rose again Wednesday, but pork cutout values were flat to mixed. The latter declined at midday, which seemingly weighed upon summer futures. Position rolling and bear spreading also seem to be causing significant divergences between the various contracts. April hogs had jumped 1.30 cents to 125.45 cents/pound late Thursday morning, while June plunged 1.17 to 131.07.


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