Crop markets easily outperformed livestock Wednesday

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Corn futures proved quite firm Wednesday. 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 seemed to be bottom picking in the absence of fresh news. September corn settled up 4.25 cents at $3.7825/bushel Wednesday, while December added 5.0 cents to $3.8675.

The soy complex 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 6.75 cents to $11.825/bushel at Wednesday’s CBOT settlement, while November futures surged 15.75 cents to $11.02. August soyoil sagged 0.07 cents to 36.83 cents/pound, while August soymeal advanced $4.6 to $383.7/ton.

The wheat markets were decidedly mixed. Wheat futures followed corn and beans higher in Tuesday night action, but turned quite mixed during Wednesday’s session. The domestic wheat situation seems relatively price supportive, but global wheat conditions are weighing heavily upon the American market. The reasons for today’s modest divergences weren’t obvious. September CBOT wheat rose 0.25 cent to $5.38/bushel in late Wednesday trading, while September KC wheat slid 1.75 cents to $6.3725/bushel, and September MWE wheat lost 2.5 cents to $6.28/bushel.

Wholesale weakness continued weighing on cattle futures. Cattle and beef prices soared in early summer, but the industry clearly expects a sizeable mid-to-late summer setback. Thus, this week’s persistent wholesale weakness is seemingly confirming that bias and undercutting CME futures. August live cattle fell 0.90 cents to 147.67 cents/pound at their Wednesday close, while December dropped 0.45 cents to 152.05. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle plunged 1.70 cents to 209.82 cents/pound, and October dove 1.10 to 210.67.

Bearish expectations also depressed CME hogs. Cash hog prices were called lower again at noon Wednesday, while pork prices rose. The cash losses, along with widespread expectations for more of the same kept the downward pressure upon nearby futures. August hog futures sank 0.20 cents to 130.52 cents/pound in closing Wednesday action, while December tumbled 0.70 cents to 104.00 cents.

Cotton futures reacted weakly to mixed Wednesday signals. Forecasts for short-term rainfall across the Southeast are apparently weighed upon ICE cotton values today, but concurrent strength in corn, soybeans and the equity markets seemed to support fiber prices. Conversely, recent U.S. dollar strength might undercut export demand. December cotton gained 0.11 cent to 67.64 cents per pound as Wednesday’s trading ended and March slid 0.24 cents to 68.30 cents/lb.

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