Ag markets were narrowly mixed Wednesday night

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Corn futures edged upward Wednesday night. Anticipation of a record U.S. corn crop and good results for other crops apparently renewed the downward pressure upon corn prices overnight. However, prices bounced modestly in the early morning hours, which very likely reflected fresh short-covering ahead of tomorrow’s USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports. December corn futures rose 0.75 cent to $4.22/bushel just before dawn Thursday, while May added 0.75 cent to $4.4025.

Short covering probably supported the soy complex as well. Soybean and meal prices also rose slightly in early Thursday trading, which probably marked a reaction to recent cash market stability and to talk of robust export demand. Still, they are likely benefitting from short-covering as well. Conversely, persistent Asian palm oil weakness continues weighing upon soyoil values. January soybean futures skidded 0.25 cent to $12.5475/bushel early Thursday morning, while December soyoil slid 0.24 cents to 40.90 cents/pound, and December soymeal added $1.5 to $398.3/ton.

The wheat markets appeared to rally in concert with corn and beans. Strength spilling over from the corn and soybean markets seemed to boost wheat futures in early Thursday action. As in those markets, traders are very likely looking to square up their positions ahead of tomorrow’s reports. December CBOT wheat futures rallied 2.0 cents to $6.5525/bushel in pre-dawn Thursday trading, while December KCBT wheat futures moved up 2.0 cents to $7.185, and December MWE futures inched up 1.75 to $7.14.

Cattle traders apparently doubt this week’s cash market results. Although history suggests cash and wholesale strength early in most months, this week’s beef slippage, especially in choice cutout, hasn’t been helpful to the bullish cause. Cattle futures are struggling as a consequence. December cattle futures declined 0.12 cents to 131.90 cents/pound in early Thursday activity, while April futures slumped 0.15 to 134.07. January feeder cattle sank 0.32 cents to 165.22 cents/pound, while March feeders lost 0.17 cents to 165.20.

Nearby hog futures firmed overnight. Surging hog weights, possibly presaging increased hog supplies, and wholesale weakness are weighing upon the hog and pork complex at this juncture. However, cash prices rose in the western Corn Belt Wednesday, thereby supporting the nearby December future. December hog futures advanced 0.20 cents at 87.55 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while April slipped 0.20 to 92.65.

Pessimism about Friday’s reports seemed to sink cotton futures again last night. Short covering rather obviously boosted cotton prices Wednesday, thereby reflecting many traders’ reluctance to remain heavily committed to the short side during Friday’s reports. However, prices turned lower again overnight, which more than likely is a sign of the bearishness now dominating the fiber market. December cotton sagged 0.47 cents to 76.60 cents/pound around sunrise Thursday, while March cotton tumbled 0.58 to 78.61.

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