Ag markets proved surprisingly changeable Thursday morning

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Corn futures dipped on China talk Thursday morning. Corn futures followed soybeans higher Wednesday night and seemed likely to keep rising after the weekly Export Sales report stated the new-crop result far above expectations. However, rumors that China will insist that U.S. DDGs shipped to that country be certified free of an unapproved GMO trait apparently undercut the market. September corn sank 0.25 cents to $3.6225/bushel late Thursday morning, while December sagged 0.5 cent to $3.7025.

Soy prices set back from early highs. Forecasts for Corn Belt dryness in late July and early August sparked a follow-through rally in the CBOT soy complex overnight. Moreover, the results of the weekly Export Sales report looked generally bullish for bean and product futures. Nevertheless, Chicago prices declined from their early highs. The reason for the drop was obvious, which may bode ill for short-term prospects. August soybean futures advanced 15.5 cents to $12.165/bushel around midsession Thursday, while November futures climbed 16.5 cents to $10.93. August soyoil ran up 0.18 cents to 36.38 cents/pound and August soymeal climbed $6.2 to $397.7/ton.

The wheat markets turned mixed. Wheat futures also followed soybeans upward overnight, but have subsequently set back. The Export Sales data looked neutral. The morning decline may partially reflect news that scouts are finding strong productive potential while touring spring wheat across the northern Plains. September CBOT wheat gained 3.0 cents to $5.3375/bushel as lunchtime loomed Thursday, while September KC wheat edged up 1.5 cents to $6.25/bushel, and September MWE wheat moved up 1.5 cents to $6.225.

Cattle futures proved quite volatile Thursday morning. News that western Plains cattle were trading at record highs in the $160-$162/cwt area sent CME futures soaring early this morning. However, bulls proved unable to sustain the advance, thereby triggering a technical drop that put the complex lower on the day. Prices have since recovered, but today’s action suggests a major CME top may be looming. August live cattle had surged 0.95 cents to 157.00 cents/pound in late Thursday morning action, while December gained 0.32 cents to 158.05. Meanwhile, August feeder futures rose 0.40 cents to 217.65 cents/pound, but October feeders dropped 0.17 to 218.00.

Hog futures remain under pressure. Wednesday’s hog breakdown had lots of bearish technical implications, so late-day news of sizeable cash and wholesale losses triggered fresh CME selling overnight and again this morning. The August future is trying to firm, but its ability to sustain the bounce is debatable. August hog futures dove 1.25 cents to 123.32 cents/pound just before lunchtime Thursday, while December plunged 2.30 cents to 99.20.

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