Cotton the exception to ag market strength Thursday morning

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The Export Sales report boosted corn futures Thursday morning. Short-covering seemed to support the grain and soy markets Wednesday night and the early-morning Export Sales report apparently sparked additional buying. Old-crop corn sales slightly exceeded expectations, while the bullish soy complex reaction offered spillover support. July corn edged 2.75 cents higher to $4.4375/bushel in late Thursday morning trading, while December added 5.0 to $4.45.

Old-crop futures are leading the soy complex higher. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated old-crop soybean sales well above expectations, while new crop bean and meal sales matched or exceeded forecasts. Those CBOT futures reacted well, but mediocre oil sales did little for the soyoil market. July soybeans surged 18.5 cents to $14.3425/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while July soyoil skidded 0.08 cents to 40.57 cents/pound, and July soymeal advanced $9.3 to $461.0/ton.

The wheat markets seemed to be following corn and beans higher. The wheat result on the Export Sales report was pretty unremarkable, but nearby futures appeared to follow corn and beans higher. Deferred prices came under pressure, which likely reflected sizeable production prospects this fall. July CBOT wheat futures gained 7.25 cents to $5.8275/bushel late Thursday morning, while July KCBT wheat ran up 10.25 cents to $7.2425, and July MWE futures inched up 2.5 to $6.7625.

Renewed beef strength is likely spurring fresh cattle gains. Wednesday’s beef price action suggested the wholesale market might be set for a sizeable seasonal setback, which probably limited CME cattle gains. However, today’s beef data proved surprisingly firm, thereby sparking fresh Chicago gains. August cattle jumped 1.40 cents to 152.05 cents/pound shortly before lunchtime Thursday, while December lifted 0.55 to 155.10. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle soared 2.50 cents to 214.62 cents/pound, and October leapt 2.02 to 216.10.

The hog market is floundering ahead of tomorrow’s big report. Cash hog and wholesale pork values have risen sharply lately, but CME hog futures tanked Wednesday and deferred contracts are down again today. That very likely reflects trader concerns about the potential results of the quarterly USDA Hogs & Pigs report coming out tomorrow afternoon. August hog futures rallied 0.40 cents to 129.05 in late Thursday morning action, while December sank 0.80 cents to 95.30.

The export sales data exaggerated early cotton losses. The cotton market had continued its recent decline Wednesday night, then moved even lower after the result of the weekly Export Sales report proved stunningly small. Concurrent equity market losses didn’t help the bullish cause either. July cotton futures fell 1.20 cents to 80.60 cents/pound just after noon (EDT) Thursday, while December cotton slumped 0.63 to 74.63.

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