Ag markets seemed confused Thursday morning

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Corn futures reversed their recent pattern Thursday as old crop prices slipped and new crop values rose slightly. Recent July gains may have elicited fresh farmer selling, whereas talk of a high pressure ridge emerging over the Great Plains in mid-June probably supported the deferred contracts. July corn dipped 0.25 cents to $6.605/bushel in early Thursday trading, while December advanced 2.25 cents to $5.445.

Soybean futures came under downward pressure early Thursday morning, although the reasons behind the slide were not clear. Soybean oil prices rose modestly in response to bullish developments in the Asian palm oil markets, but that seemingly did little to support beans. July soybean futures fell 3.5 cents to $15.585/bushel as the sun rose over Chicago Thursday, whereas July soyoil climbed 0.10 cents to 48.40 cents/pound, and July soybean meal dropped $1.4 to $454.5/ton.

Wheat futures were mixed Thursday morning. Chicago futures edged lower, possibly in response to ideas that warming weather in the wake of recent rains will improve the soft winter wheat harvest in the eastern Corn Belt. News that a respected Memphis firm had cut its forecast of U.S. hard red winter wheat production probably supported the Kansas City market, while spring wheat prices seemed stuck between the other markets. July CBOT wheat futures edged 0.25 cents lower to $7.0125/bushel early Thursday, while July KCBT wheat lost 0.25 cents to $7.43 and July MGE futures inched up 1.0 cent to $8.17.

Demand concerns about the cattle/beef outlook were apparently resurrected by the latest monthly USDA trade report Wednesday, since it stated April U.S. beef exports 13.3% and 19.0% below comparable totals from 2012 and 2011, respectively. The afternoon beef report indicated another drop in choice cutout as well, but early gains Thursday morning seemed to reflect a bit of optimism about the outcome of cash trading today and/or Friday. June cattle bounced 0.20 cents to 120.45 cents/pound early Thursday, while December moved up 0.15 to 124.80. August feeder futures sank 0.10 cents to 144.50 cents/pound, but November added 0.05 cents to 150.05.

Hog futures reacted rather poorly to the weak monthly export sales report, but rebounded in overnight trading. Although the afternoon pork quote came in far below the stunning jump posted at noon Wednesday, that rise and concurrent cash gains seemed fully congruent with an ongoing seasonal advance. June hog futures climbed 0.25 cents to 96.90 cents/pound in early Thursday action, while December rose 0.25 cents to 80.72.

After rising dramatically Monday and Tuesday, cotton futures dropped in concert with the equity markets Wednesday. Prices dipped again in overnight activity. Traders are probably worried that a sustained stock market decline from recent highs bodes ill for the global economic outlook in late 2013, which might hold similar implications for cotton demand and prices. July cotton futures bounced 0.02 cents to 83.54 cents/pound early Thursday morning, but December dove 0.59 cents to 84.31.

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