Bears made presence felt in the ag markets Thursday afternoon

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Corn futures dipped on China talk Thursday. 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 settled 1.0 cent lower at $3.615/bushel late Thursday, while December sagged 1.25 cents to $3.695.

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 not obvious, which may bode ill for short-term prospects. August soybean futures advanced 6.5 cents to $12.075/bushel as Thursday’s pit session ended, while November futures climbed 8.25 cents to $10.8475. August soyoil moved up 0.04 cents to 36.24 cents/pound and August soymeal gained $3.8 to $395.3/ton.

The wheat markets turned lower as well. Wheat futures also followed soybeans upward last night, but subsequently turned downward. The Export Sales data looked neutral. Today’s eventual decline may partially have reflected news that scouts are finding strong productive potential while touring spring wheat across the northern Plains, as well as late soy slippage. September CBOT wheat slipped 2.0 cents to $5.5875/bushel at its Thursday settlement, while September KC wheat slumped 3.0 cents to $6.205/bushel, and September MWE wheat moved 1.25 cents lower to $6.1975.

Cattle futures proved quite volatile Thursday. 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 at midday. Prices later recovered, but today’s CME action suggests a major top may be looming. August live cattle settled up 0.50 cents at 156.55 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while December rose 0.05 cents to 157.77. Meanwhile, August feeder futures inched up 0.07 cents to 217.32 cents/pound, but October feeders dropped 0.55 to 217.62.

Hog futures remained under pressure. Wednesday’s hog breakdown had bearish technical implications, so late-day news of sizeable cash and wholesale losses triggered fresh CME selling overnight and again today. The August future firmed, but its ability to sustain the bounce is debatable. August hog futures ended Thursday having dived 1.37 cents to 123.20 cents/pound, while December plunged 2.87 cents to 98.62.


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