Grain, livestock markets post mixed reactions to the export data

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Corn futures held up surprisingly well in the wake of the Thursday morning USDA Export Sales report. Not only did the net result for 2012/13 and 2013/14 sales fall well short of expectations in 450,000-650,000 tonne range, the 2013/13 figure actually represented a net decline of 49,600 tonnes. Traders may have been unwilling to sell aggressively prior to the Friday morning release of the USDA WASDE report. May corn dipped 4.0 cents to $6.845/bushel late Thursday morning, while December had lost 3.25 cents to $5.41.

In contrast to the corn market firmness in response to a negative export result, soybean futures were mixed to lower on strong sales last week. The total for the current crop year and next came in toward the upper limit of pre-report forecasts, but that may have disappointed some in the industry. On the other hand, soybean traders may be no more willing to buy soybeans before the WASDE report is published tomorrow than corn traders are to sell. May soybeans had slipped 1.5 cent to $14.645/bushel around mid-session Thursday, while May soyoil edged 0.09 cents higher to 50.35 cents/pound, and May meal lost $1.4 to $433.9/ton. The meal weakness was particularly surprising since recent exports have been massive; this industry was apparently expecting the large total.

The wheat market reacted rather well to the large sales total on the export sales report. The USDA stated the latest result at 828,100 tonnes easily topped forecasts in the 350,000-550,000 tonne range. However, many traders may actually be disappointed with the futures reaction to the data, which may give the market a negative undertone as it awaits the results of the Friday morning WASDE report. May CBOT wheat futures rose just 1.25 cents to $6.84/bushel by late Thursday morning, while May KCBT wheat was unchanged at $7.245, and May MGE futures climbed 1.25 cents to $7.8475.

Cattle futures continued their recent decline early Thursday morning, thereby seeming to mark a reaction to flat cash news around midsession Wednesday. However, the ongoing spike in wholesale prices is almost surely persuading many traders to take a fresh look at the long side. That seems especially true when one recalls the historical tendency for cash cattle prices to annual highs in the March-April period. Thus, it was not terribly surprising to see futures had rebounded later in the morning. April cattle were 0.15 cents higher, at 128.95 cents/pound in late-morning activity, while August had surged 0.75 cents to 125.55. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle advanced 0.80 cents to 143.05 cents/pound, while August climbed 0.82 cents to 152.27.

Hog futures rebounded from deeply oversold levels Thursday morning. Large wholesale losses had depressed the market earlier in the week, but the cash markets have shown definite signs of firming. That probably persuaded numerous traders that the recent breakdown had run its course, which in turn caused them to cover sizeable short positions. April hogs had spiked 2.77 cents to 82.00 cents/pound late Thursday morning, while June leapt 2.45 cents at 91.90.

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