Crop markets reacted differently to Thursday's export data

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Corn traders seemed disappointed by Thursday’s Export Sales report. Potential improvements in spring planting conditions have been weighing are probably weighing on corn futures. Traders also seemed less than impressed by the weekly USDA Export Sales report, which stated last week’s result toward the lower end of the forecast range. May corn slid 4.0 cents to $4.935/bushel by late Thursday morning, while December lost 2.75 to $4.9625.

The export data seemed to accelerate today’s early soy pullback. Soybean and product prices had proved extremely strong in the wake of Tuesday’s bullish NOPA crush report. However, beans were backing away from overnight highs in early trading and the decline accelerated after the export sales result proved mediocre. Conversely, oil prices bounced from Wednesday night lows. May soybeans declined 5.75 cents to $15.13/bushel early Thursday morning, while May soyoil sagged 0.22 cents to 43.49 cents/pound, and May soymeal dipped $3.8 to $487.2/ton.

Strong wheat exports boosted those markets Thursday morning. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated last week’s wheat figure above the forecast range, thereby suggesting recent slippage has sparked renewed international interest. Talk of persistent dryness and freeze damage to Southern Plains wheat also seemed spur KC buying. May CBOT wheat futures rallied 7.0 cents to $6.95/bushel in early Thursday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures jumped 8.5 cents to $7.63, and May MWE futures surged 10.25 to $7.3675.

Cash weakness likely undercut cattle futures. Wednesday’s surprising beef gains appeared to support CME cattle futures in early Thursday trading. However, Kansas producers reportedly took about $1 less for the cattle (with packers paying $146/cwt) this morning. That sent futures tumbling. June cattle futures plunged 1.27 cents to 134.35 cents/pound late Thursday morning, while December dropped 0.67 to 139.30. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle plummeted 1.77 cents to 178.12 cents/pound, and August dove 1.72 to 181.25.

Technicians may be buying hog futures. The latest cash and wholesale news has not been particularly supportive of the short-term hog outlook. Nevertheless, some traders may now be looking for a significant late-spring price rebound, since the market traditionally proves quite strong in May and June. Technicians may also be buying in anticipation of a larger short-term advance. June hog futures climbed 0.57 cents to 124.35 cents/pound around midsession Thursday, while December inched up 0.07 to 88.57.

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