Corn futures turn upward in response to weekly export data

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Corn futures turned upward in response to the Thursday morning USDA Export Sales report. Both the 282,300-tonne total for the 2012/13 crop year and the 371,000-tonne 2013/14 result topped forecasts, thereby confirming the tightness of the underlying export situation. The May future topped its 40-day Moving Average (MA) late in the day, which might spark follow-through gains. May corn rose 6.25 cents to $716.5/bushel at its Thursday close, while December gained 4.25 cents to $5.5925.

Although the old-crop results were not that bad, soybean traders were apparently disappointed by the Export Sales report. The USDA stated 2012/13 sales at 657,700 tonnes, which topped forecasts reportedly averaging around 400,000. Conversely, 2013/14 sales totaled just 126,000 tonnes, thereby falling dramatically below expectations. The idea that huge South American supplies will stifle new crop U.S. exports may be depressing the market. May soybeans ended Thursday having fallen 11.5 cents to $14.355/bushel, while May soyoil dipped 0.18 cents to 49.34 cents/pound, and May meal dropped $3.9 to $425.0/ton.

Wheat futures rallied after the Export Sales report, since the stated 2012/13 figure easily topped expectations. The 888,500-tonne total smashed forecasts around 500,000 tonnes and exceeded the week-prior figure by 44%. When combined with recent talk of resurgent domestic demand, these results seem very supportive of old-crop price prospects. May CBOT wheat futures jumped 14.75 cents to $7.2475/bushel at their Thursday afternoon settlement, while May KCBT wheat surged 15.25 cents to $7.5275, and May MGE futures climbed 5.75 cents to $8.01.

Diminishing expectations for cash cattle trading late this week apparently undermined CME cattle futures Thursday. The fact that wholesale prices fell rather sharply probably weighed upon Chicago prices as well. However, bulls could point to the strong result of the weekly Export Sales report, especially the jump in Japanese purchases as being indicative of support. April cattle fell 0.50 cents to 128.05 cents/pound in late-Thursday trading; August also lost 0.50 cents to 124.37. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle dove 1.17 cents to 141.55 cents/pound on the day, and August dropped 1.38 cents to 150.47.

Preliminary reports of plunging direct market prices in the Western corn Belt dragged CME lean hog futures downward Thursday morning, but were later proven to be greatly exaggerated. The Chicago market moved in general concert with those fluctuations and ended the open outcry session slightly higher. However, the sizeable drop indicated by the late afternoon wholesale report very likely bodes ill for their Friday morning opening. April hogs edged 0.22 cents higher to 80.87 cents/pound as Thursday-afternoon trading wound down, while June rose 0.45 cents to 90.52.

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