Ag markets proved surprisingly weak Thursday afternoon

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A US warning to China over the 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 9.25 cents to $4.785/bushel Thursday, while December lost 7.25 to $4.8125.

The soy complex was rebuffed at recent highs. 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 the day, but oil futures fell sharply. May soybeans closed up 2.5 cents at $14.3375/bushel at Thursday afternoon, while May soyoil plummeted 0.79 cents to 41.31 cents/pound, but May soymeal gained $4.5 at $466.5/ton.

The wheat markets proved rather weak Thursday. After southern Plains dryness and Black Sea production/shipment concerns powered recent gains, wheat futures turned downward Wednesday night and continued sliding this morning. The Export Sales data was mediocre, which may also have encouraged bears as well as long liquidation. Technical selling at fresh highs may also have pressured prices. May CBOT wheat futures dove 12.0 cents to $7.0375/bushel in late Thursday action, while May KCBT wheat futures dropped 6.5 cents to $7.82 and May MWE futures tumbled 5.75 to $7.5525.

Sliding beef prices seemed to spark Thursday cattle losses. 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 tanked 1.70 cents to 144.42 cents/pound at their Thursday settlement, while August plunged 1.60 cents to 133.75. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle crashed 2.00 cents to 174.65 cents/pound, and August nosedived 2.17 to 177.62.

Hog futures ended Thursday in very mixed fashion. Cash hog prices rose again Wednesday, but pork cutout values were flat to mixed. The latter declined again at midday, which seemingly weighed upon summer futures. Position rolling and bear spreading also seemed to cause significant divergences between the various contracts. April hogs had climbed 0.65 cents to 124.80 cents/pound in late Thursday action, while June fell 1.45 to 130.80.

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