Corn futures settled 11 to 17 cents higher on Thursday. Several key factors attributed to today’s higher corn prices. The market was supported by forecasts for dry weather across the U.S. Corn Belt and tightening corn stocks. News that China plans to increase imports of corn and soybeans for the 2012/13 crop year to cover demand needs encouraged deferred contacts. Lastly, China’s cut to interest rates spurred a round of investment buying across commodities.

Soybean futures settled 37 to 42 cents higher on Thursday. Great day in the soybean market. Prices closed their highest level in three weeks. Soybean futures soared on encouraging news from the world’s largest oilseed importer, China. China plans to increase soybean imports for 2012/13 to 57.3 million tonnes, up from 55 million. China also slashed interest rates in an effort to bolster the economy, which brought on a round of speculative buying across commodities, pushing prices higher.

Wheat futures settled 8 to 19 cents higher on Thursday. Market prices ended strong on a lower dollar index and gains in the stock market. Prices at CBOT and MGE closed higher, posting double digit gains. New optimism in the global economy by traders and investors helped to lift grain prices. China’s cut to interest rates for the first time in four years incited investors to take on riskier assets such as commodities.

Cattle futures closed $1.15 to $1.20 higher on Thursday. Cattle prices closed higher on improvement in the cash market. Reported sale prices in Kansas and Texas were up $1 at $122. Beef cutout values were higher at midday lending support along with help from outside markets.

Lean hog futures mixed on Thursday. Nearby contracts closed higher while the December contract lagged behind. Prices were supported by higher pork cutout prices. Higher cash prices due to tightening supplies helped to lift hog prices also. Weakness in the dollar index and improvement in outside market conditions encouraged market prices, limiting losses.