Grain markets widely mixed again at noon on Wednesday

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Corn futures continued their early-week slide Wednesday morning. There was little fresh news, which implies technical and pragmatic factors were weighing on prices. Having the nearby contracts fail at chart support Tuesday probably prompted some buying, while the looming release of the weekly Export Sales reports Thursday and the monthly Crop Production and Supply/Demand reports Friday very likely prompted long liquidation. March corn fell 4.75 cents to $7.2425/bushel just before the lunch hour, while December dove 10.0 cents to $5.80.

Soybean futures declined as South American rainfall forecasts improved Wednesday. The weather models apparently changed little at midday, but the recent shift toward more favorable crop conditions in Argentina and Southern Brazil has rather clearly weighed upon CBOT prices. Bulls may also have been exiting positions ahead of the forthcoming Export Sales, Crop Production and Supply/Demand reports. March soybeans were trading 10.0 cents lower, at 14.85 late Wednesday morning, while March soyoil had dipped 0.36 cents to 52.62 cents/pound and March meal had declined $3.0 cents to $435.5/ton.

Wheat futures bounced from early losses late Wednesday morning. The cause of the reversal was not readily apparent, so wire service sources credited profit-taking by bears and/or position squaring by traders on both sides of the market ahead of the late-week reports. The fact that March Kansas City futures bounced from the $8.00/bushel level probably prompted considerable buying as well. March CBOT wheat futures had risen 3.25 cents to $7.61/bushel around midsession, while March KCBT wheat had bounced 5.50 cents to $8.125 and March MGE futures climbed 6.0 cents to $8.4775.

Cattle futures fell again Wednesday, with news of looming Russian restrictions on additional American products seemingly undercutting the market. Although the underlying Russian objections to product with the growth promotant ractopamine involved are probably more political than phytosanitary in nature, that does not change the damage a ban on U.S. beef might do to the domestic market. The late-morning drop in choice cutout did not help the situation. April cattle had fallen 0.70 cents to 131.60 cents/pound just before lunchtime, while August had dropped 0.60 cents to 128.27. March feeder cattle sank 0.75 cents to 147.77 cents/pound, while August dove 0.95 cents to 159.57.

Hog futures also dropped Wednesday morning. The latest cash and wholesale news actually seemed rather supportive of the short-term outlook, especially the late-morning report of firm pork loin values. However, talk of the potential damage that might be done by additional Russian restrictions on imports of American meat products apparently depressed the whole livestock complex. April hogs had dropped 1.22 cents to 86.47 cents/pound by mid-session, while June plunged 1.12 cents to 95.32.

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