Ag markets proved rather volatile Wednesday afternoon

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Weather and ethanol news may have boosted corn futures Wednesday. The latest weather maps suggest persistent rainfall and returning cold over parts of the Corn Belt next week; that could delay and/or limit spring plantings. Meanwhile, the latest API report indicated strong ethanol production last week. May corn climbed 7.25 cents to $5.035/bushel as CBOT trading ended Wednesday, while December rallied 8.75 to $5.045.

The soy complex traded in decidedly mixed fashion today. Reports of Brazilian soybeans being diverted toward the U.S. very likely weighed on nearby soybean and meal futures today, while soyoil prices apparently followed Asian palm prices lower. However, talk of planting delays seemed to boost new crop soy values. May soybeans dropped 11.25 cents to $14.685/bushel at their Wednesday close, while May soyoil sank 0.24 cents to 42.50 cents/pound, and May soymeal edged $1.7 lower to $478.1/ton.

Japanese buying may have sparked Wednesday’s wheat bounce. The Black Sea situation remains tense, which probably provided general support for wheat futures at midweek. Persistent dryness in the southern Plains may also have spurred some buying today. In addition, bulls were probably encouraged by a big wheat sale to Japan and strength spilling over from the corn market. May CBOT wheat futures advanced 3.5 cents to $6.765/bushel at Wednesday’s settlement, while May KCBT wheat futures gained 4.5 cents to $7.4575, and May MWE futures ran up 4.0 to $7.2425.

Wholesale strength seemed to boost cattle futures Wednesday. Beef prices rose again today, which apparently mitigated trader fears about seasonal cash weakness. Spillover buying from the hog pit probably encouraged bulls as well. June cattle futures closed up 0.12 cents at 135.10 cents/pound Wednesday, while December bounced 0.27 cents to 140.72. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle gained 0.27 cents to 178.62 cents/pound, and August added 0.17 to 182.45.

Cash and wholesale gains sent the hog market higher. After having fallen sharply over the past three weeks, cash hog and wholesale pork prices climbed at midsession Wednesday. That encouraged bulls looking for fresh seasonal strength to buy CME futures aggressively. Having nearby futures top technical resistance exaggerated the move. June hog futures leapt 3.00 cents to 126.25 cents/pound in late Wednesday trading, while December jumped 2.15 to 91.02.

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