Crop markets post muted reactions to the Export Sales report

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Thursday’s Export Sales report supported corn futures. The corn market firmed around moving average support Wednesday night, with news of a sizeable purchase by a South Korean firm seemingly encouraging traders. They apparently started buying more aggressively after the weekly USDA Export Sales report stated last week’s corn total well above forecasts. March corn was steady at $4.2475/bushel late Thursday morning, while May gained 0.25 to $4.3325/bushel.

The export data had mixed implications for the soy complex. Talk of strong export demand, droughty conditions in Argentina and the NOPA crush report boosted the soybean sector Wednesday and again this morning. Oil seems to be suffering from its position on the wrong side of the crush equation, but traders could also point to today’s Export Sales report as well. That is, soymeal sales topped expectations, whereas the bean and oil totals mediocre. March soybeans edged up 0.25 cents to $13.1825/bushel around midsession Thursday, while March soyoil slid 0.25 cents to 37.74 cents/pound, but March soymeal climbed $0.7 to $435.2/ton.

The wheat markets edged upward Thursday morning. The weekly USDA Export Sales report seemed rather bearish for the wheat sector, since last week’s sales total fell short of forecasts. However, futures prices proved surprisingly firm, possibly due to renewed talk of emerging dryness across the Great Plains. March CBOT wheat futures inched up 0.5 cent to $5.6825/bushel in late Thursday morning trading, whereas March KCBT wheat futures rallied 4.5 cents to $6.25, and March MWE futures surged 6.75 $6.2075.

Spiking cash and wholesale prices are supporting cattle futures at fresh highs. Cash cattle prices in the Southern Plains jumped to the $141-$142 area Wednesday. That news was followed by the afternoon beef report indicating fresh records there as well. CME prices leapt again in early trading, but had slipped from their early-morning peak. February cattle futures soared 1.27 cents to 140.67 cents/pound just before lunchtime Thursday, while April futures ran up 0.45 to 139.40. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures rallied 0.70 cents to 168.72 cents/pound, and May advanced 0.52 to 170.42.

Futures premiums may be hampering hog futures. The cash hog markets were quoted mixed to higher, while pork cutout fell moderately Wednesday afternoon. Circumstances seemingly a sustained rise in hog futures, especially with cattle and beef prices jumping to record highs. However, the Chicago market is already trading at sizeable premiums to the official cash quote, which is apparently limiting bullish moves. February hogs gained 0.17 cents to 86.77 cents/pound by late Thursday morning, while June lifted 0.20 at 101.40.


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