Corn futures closed mostly lower Thursday. The market traded two-sided today on mixed news on the South American crops and pre-report positioning. Brazil revised its corn crop estimates higher at 61.7 million tonnes, while Argentina’s Buenos Aires Grains Exchange cut its corn crop forecast to 20.8 million tonnes from 21.3 million. Poor weekly export sales of 30.3 million bushels added pressure. On the positive side, the market found support in stronger crude oil and weakness in the value of the dollar. Optimism over the Greek debt restructuring is currently good. The trade is awaiting USDA’s supply/demand revisions tomorrow morning. Pre-report trade surveys peg corn ending stocks at 784 million bushels, down from the February estimate of 801 million bushels. May was 3 1/4 cents lower at $6.35 1/2 and December was 3/4 of a cent lower at $5.57 1/4.
Soybean futures finished higher Thursday. Strong weekly export sales of 39.5 million bushels were above trade estimates and sent futures higher. Outside markets and bullish momentum added support as well despite some concern that the soybean market is technically overbought. The euro-zone debt crisis yoyo continues and most recent news is for some hope for an agreement to deal with Greek debt. Also, soybean production estimates for South America continue to decline. Average of pre-report trade estimates for Friday’s USDA report look for a cut to the soybean ending stocks from 275 million bushels to 257 million. May was 11 3/4 cents higher at $13.38 1/2 and November was 8 cents higher at $12.99 1/2.
Wheat futures settled lower Thursday. The market fell amid spillover pressure from the downturn in corn. Wheat crop conditions are reportedly good so far, and with large supplies already the market is facing upside resistance. Meanwhile, the weakness in the dollar index and optimism over the Greek debt restructuring provided some support. Gains remain limited by bearish global supply/demand fundamentals. The trade was positioning itself for tomorrow’s USDA Supply/Demand report, as they are looking for USDA to cut its U.S. wheat ending stocks from 845 million bushels to 838 million. CBOT May was 4 1/2 cents lower at $6.34 3/4, KCBT May was 5 1/2 cents lower at $6.78 1/4 and MGE May was 5 1/4 cents lower at $8.03 1/2.
Cattle futures finished higher Thursday. The market took today to recover some of it recent losses after heavy selling the last 4 sessions pushed futures about $5 lower. Buyers took advantage of the lower prices which pushed futures higher despite the bearish tone of the cash market. The cash market was quiet today after light trade yesterday at $126, steady to $1 lower than previously this week and down around $3 from last week. Packers appear to be uninterested in paying anything higher right now. Boxed beef prices have been mixed this week. The weaker dollar index added support. April was $1.08 higher at $126.65 and June was $1.03 higher at $124.50.
Lean hog futures closed mostly higher Thursday. Wednesday’s bounce in the cash hog market fueled the futures market today, sending prices solidly higher. Weakness in the dollar index added to gains. Pork cutouts were up 57 cents on Wednesday and hogs were up $2 in Iowa/southern Minnesota. Improvement in the Greek debt situation and the pressure on the value of the dollar were friendly for prices as they are favorable for the pork export outlook. April was 40 cents higher at $87.75 and June was unchanged at $95.55.