Corn futures closed higher on Wednesday. The market was choppy today, but closed higher marking the fifth consecutive session of higher prices. The market found support from the dollar index turning lower amid the announcement that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates exceptionally low through late 2014. In addition, the market has rallied on ideas that a smaller corn crop in Argentina will boost U.S. exports. Recent rainfall is too late to help the crop recover very much. March closed 4 1/4 cents higher at $6.34 1/2 and May was 5 cents higher at $6.40 1/4.
Soybean futures traded lower on Wednesday. The market was pressured by recent rainfall in South America that is improving soybean crop prospects. Rainfall was noted in northern Argentina and southern Brazil yesterday. Strength in the dollar index and lower crude oil futures and equities markets also contributed to the weakness. Losses were limited by the dollar index turning lower and crude oil futures turning higher during the session. March closed 6 1/2 cents lower at $12.13 1/2 and May was 6 cents lower at $12.22 3/4.
Wheat futures traded solidly higher on Wednesday. Short-covering and spillover strength from corn helped push prices higher. Optimism for improved export demand has helped rally prices recently. Reports that Russia could impose export tariffs on wheat and weakness in the dollar index were favorable factors for the export market. CBOT March ended 7 3/4 cents higher at $6.41 1/4, KCBT March was 11 cents higher at $6.97 and MGE March closed 9 cents higher at $8.12 3/4.
Cattle futures traded slightly higher on Wednesday. The market was pressured much of the day by profit-taking after hitting new highs in overnight trade. However, prices turned slightly higher into the close on ideas that cash trade would develop at steady or higher levels this week. Boxed beef prices have improved this week, although packer processing margins remain well in the red. February closed 5 cents higher at $125.85 and April was unchanged at $129.18.
Lean hog futures were higher on Wednesday. Short-covering and the firm tone in the cash market supported futures trade. Packers have been forced to raise bids despite poor processing margins. Cash prices were steady to $1 higher today as packers are still filling some needs for this week. Declining slaughter weights have led to ideas that big slaughters in recent weeks have pulled some hogs forward. February ended 60 cents higher at $86.63 and April was 38 cents higher at $88.23.