Crop and livestock markets diverged Wednesday morning

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Corn futures proved quite firm Wednesday morning. Although current Corn Belt crop conditions are outstanding and ideal weather is predicted for the days ahead, corn futures bounced from fresh four-year lows this morning. Pragmatic traders and technicians seem to be doing some bottom picking in the absence of fresh news. September corn rose 4.5 cents to $3.785/bushel late Wednesday morning, while December added 5.0 cents to $3.8675.

The soy complex has also rebounded. Prospects for a record U.S. soybean crop have depressed the CBOT soy complex as well, but signs of price firmness are emerging. News of a sizeable Chinese purchase of old crop beans suggests the drop has been large enough to spur renewed demand. August soybean futures bounced 7.0 cents to $11.875/bushel shortly before lunchtime Wednesday, while November futures surged 10.0 cents to $10.9625. August soyoil sagged 0.03 cents to 36.87 cents/pound, while August soymeal advanced $2.9 to $382.0/ton.

The wheat markets are decidedly mixed at midsession. Wheat futures followed corn and beans higher in Tuesday night action, but turned quite mixed Wednesday morning. The domestic wheat situation seems relatively supportive of prices, but global wheat conditions are weighing heavily upon the American market. The Southern Plains HRW harvest is essentially complete, but that didn’t prevent KC prices from dipping today. September CBOT wheat added 0.75 cent to $5.385/bushel in late morning trading, while September KC wheat slid 2.5 cents to $6.365/bushel, and September MWE wheat lost 1.5 cents to $6.29/bushel.

Wholesale weakness is weighing on cattle futures. Cattle and beef prices have soared recently, but the industry clearly expects a sizeable mid-to-late summer setback. Thus, Tuesday afternoon news of declining wholesale values seemingly confirmed that bias and is undercutting CME futures rather badly today. August live cattle fell 1.20 cents to 147.37 cents/pound as lunchtime loomed Wednesday, while December dropped 0.82 cents to 151.67. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle plummeted 2.15 cents to 209.37 cents/pound, and October plunged 2.00 to 209.77.

Bearish expectations are also depressing CME hogs. Cash hog prices moved modestly lower Tuesday afternoon, and were called steady this morning. Meanwhile, pork quotes came in slightly higher yesterday, but traders apparently expect demand to slacken in the near future. Nearby futures are declining in reaction. August hog futures sank 0.35 cents to 130.37 cents/pound around midsession Wednesday, while December tumbled 1.22 cents to 103.47 cents.

Cotton futures are reacting to mixed signals. Forecasts for short-term rainfall across the Southeast are probably weighing upon ICE cotton values at this point, but concurrent strength in corn, soybeans and the equity markets seem to be supporting fiber prices. Recent U.S. dollar strength might undercut export demand. The net result of these influences has been a slight futures decline. December cotton rose 0.13 cent to 67.76 cents per pound just before noon (EDT) Wednesday, but March edged up 0.02 cents to 68.56 cents/lb.

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