The ag markets posted a general advance early Thursday morning, with corn tagging along for the rise. An overnight bounce in equity index futures and slippage in the value of the dollar may have offered support. Bulls may also have been reacting to a modest cut in crop forecast for Europe. May corn edged 1.75 cents higher to $6.6225/bushel in pre-dawn Thursday trading, while December gained 2.25 cents to $5.495.
Soybean futures rose moderately Wednesday night. Rebounding equity indices and slipping U.S. dollar values may have encouraged the rise, since those hold implications of improved demand down the road. Wire service reports also suggested weather-related problems for several major soy production areas, including the U.S. Corn Belt also provided support. May soybeans gained 13.5 cents to $14.3575/bushel early Thursday morning, while May soyoil added 0.41 cents to 49.80 cents/pound, and May soybean meal rose $6.6 to $413.9/ton.
The same forces supporting corn early Thursday morning were probably boosting wheat futures as well. In addition, the weather problems facing the 2013 U.S. crop are still very much in play. Severe cold is expected in Western Kansas tonight, which obviously will not help the winter wheat crop. Moreover, weather forecasters expect extremely late flooding in the Red River Valley of Northern Plains this spring, which implies very late spring wheat plantings. May CBOT wheat futures surged 7.25 cents to $7.11/bushel in early Thursday action, while May KCBT wheat advanced 5.5 cents to $7.475 and May MGE futures climbed 4.5 cents to $8.1275.
Cattle futures built slightly upon their Wednesday advance early Thursday morning. The follow-through at least partially represented a continuation of the technical strength exhibited yesterday, but afternoon news of solid wholesale price gains very likely added support as well. June cattle moved up 0.12 cents to 121.95 cents/pound in overnight trading, while December inched one tick higher to 127.00. May feeder cattle futures fell 0.12 cents to 140.77 cents/pound, and August slid 0.05 cents to 147.45.
Hog futures proved able to build slightly upon their Wednesday gains as well. The rise very likely reflected the wholesale strength indicated on the afternoon USDA report. However, the belief that the hog and pork industry will see much more of the same during the second quarter, when consumer grilling demand surges and production dips to annual lows, almost surely exaggerated late futures strength. May hog futures were unchanged at 88.12 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while the June contract advanced 0.15 cents to 90.50.
Nearby cotton futures diverged from the general upward push Thursday morning. There was little doubt about the reason for that slippage, since Chinese officials announced overnight that they plan to start selling high quality cotton from domestic reserves starting tomorrow. They had previously made similar pronouncements, which probably limited the market impact of this latest news. May cotton slipped 0.29 cents to 84.36 cents/pound in Thursday morning electronic trading, but December actually rose 0.25 cents to 86.12.