Livestock markets lagged crop futures in early Thursday action

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Corn traders are awaiting the Export Sales report. The corn market declined in response to weather forecasts conducive to accelerated spring plantings Wednesday, then bounced slightly overnight. Traders are very likely very interested in the result of the weekly USDA Export Sales report to be released this morning, since that should help gauge demand. May corn rose 1.25 cents to $4.9875/bushel Wednesday night, while December added 0.75 to $4.9975.

Talk of vigorous demand continues supporting the soy complex. Tuesday’s NOPA crush report implied that U.S. demand for soybeans and products remains extremely strong, which powered prices higher Tuesday and again Wednesday. The follow-through gains continued overnight, also Asian palm oil slippage appeared to drag soyoil values downward as well. May soybeans climbed 6.25 cents to $15.25/bushel early Thursday morning, while May soyoil sagged 0.19 cents to 43.52 cents/pound, and May soymeal gained $1.6 to $492.6/ton.

The wheat markets bounced back from Wednesday’s losses. The wheat markets spiked upward Tuesday, then gave back a big portion of those gains yesterday. The Russia-Ukraine situation is probably supporting prices, whereas improving U.S. weather seems to be encouraging selling. The bulls were winning the pricing battle overnight, but the Export Sales data could turn the tide in either direction. May CBOT wheat futures rallied 4.0 cents to $6.92/bushel in early Thursday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures edged up 3.0 cents to $7.575, and May MWE futures advanced 4.25 to $7.3075.

Cash and wholesale action is confusing cattle traders. Tuesday’s light Nebraska cattle trading at slightly lower values seemed rather bearish for CME prices, but beef prices actually proved surprisingly strong yesterday. That divergence at least partially explains the mixed Chicago action seen last night. June cattle futures were flat at 135.62 cents/pound as Thursday dawned over Chicago, while December rose 0.17 to 140.15. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle slumped 0.17 cents to 179.72 cents/pound, and August dropped 0.27 to 182.70.

Country markets were not kind to hog bulls Wednesday afternoon. Midday Wednesday reports indicated a big surge in pork values, which powered a strong bounce in CME hog values. However, the definitive late-afternoon reports stated both pork and cash hog prices substantially lower, thereby implying continued weakness. Actually, the modest size of overnight losses may encourage bulls. June hog futures slid 0.10 cents to 123.67 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while December sank 0.12 to 88.37.

Cotton futures sustained their Wednesday gains last night. May cotton futures built on Wednesday’s push above moving average resistance overnight, which looked quite impressive when viewed in the face of poor Chinese import news. Meanwhile, talk of persistent Southern Plains dryness continues supporting new crop futures. May cotton ran up 0.22 cents to 91.26 cents/pound just after sunrise (EDT) Thursday, while December cotton gained 0.35 to 81.71.

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