Hog futures led general strength in ag markets Wednesday

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Corn futures set back despite fresh export news Wednesday morning. Corn dipped Tuesday night after surging earlier in the day. Indeed, prices remained lower despite good export news announced by the USDA early in the day. We suspect the market is simply consolidating recent gains, especially with traders citing profit-taking for early weakness. March corn dipped 1.5 cents to $4.4025/bushel around midsession Wednesday, while May lost 1.75 to $4.46.

Talk of fresh Brazilian rainfall may be weighing on the soy complex. Suspicions that recent dryness in other parts of Brazil is spreading to its grain/soy growing region seemingly boosted the soy complex Tuesday. However, predictions for improved rainfall for the latter area are apparently undercutting those markets today. Wire service sources also cite technical selling. March soybeans slid 1.75 cents to $13.115/bushel late Wednesday morning, while March soyoil surged 0.63 cents to 38.34 cents/pound, possibly due to lifting of meal/oil spreads, and March soymeal fell $7.4 to $439.6/ton.

Wheat futures seem to be consolidating Tuesday’s gains. Wheat traders reportedly bought actively Tuesday in response to worries about southern Plains dryness and freeze damage in the Midwest. The move was likely exaggerated by technically inspired buying. However, prices have set back from Tuesday’s highs this morning, since most contracts fell short of moving average resistance yesterday. March CBOT wheat futures sagged 1.25 cents to $5.8325/bushel Wednesday morning action, while March KCBT wheat futures gained 1.5 cents to $6.48, and March MWE futures added 1.75 to $6.2525.

Talk of limited marketings seemed to support cattle futures this morning. The recent breakdown from record highs has discouraged cattle traders, but emerging talk of limited short-term marketings due to poor weather have apparently renewed concerns about late-winter cattle/beef supplies. Firming wholesale prices may also have contributed to the morning bounce. April cattle futures rallied 0.55 cents to 139.45 cents/pound in late Wednesday morning action, while August bounced 0.37 cents to 129.92. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle jumped 0.70 cents to 167.70 cents/pound, and May climbed 0.80 to 168.97.

Several factors may have sparked today’s hog surge. Fresh concerns about late-winter/early spring hog supplies in the wake of last year’s PEDV outbreak reportedly boosted hog futures this morning, as did rumors of increased grocery industry interest in pork. Traders also suspect Russia will return to the U.S. market after banning European pork due to concerns about African Swine Fever. April hogs soared 1.95 cents to 95.07 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Wednesday, while June leapt 1.60 to 105.35.

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