Looming USDA reports probably stifled ag market action Wednesday

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Corn futures returned to their former pattern Wednesday. That is, the tightness of the old crop situation seemed to support the nearby contracts, especially after the weekly EIA report indicated strong ethanol production. However, deferred futures seemingly turned downward in response to the storm system now making its way across the eastern Corn Belt. Price movements were probably limited by position squaring ahead of the Thursday morning USDA WASDE report. September corn futures closed 2.0 cents higher at $5.54/bushel Wednesday afternoon, while December slipped 0.25 cent to $5.215.

The soy complex was decidedly mixed at the Wednesday close. Softening cash values apparently undercut nearby futures late in the day. Conversely, anticipation of summerlike conditions over the Corn Belt later this month seemingly boosted new crop prices. August soybean futures sank 3.5 cents to $14.6475/bushel at its Wednesday afternoon settlement, while August soymeal dipped $0.2 to $449.7/ton, and August soybean oil was unchanged at 47.02 cents/pound.

Wheat traders were apparently reluctant to push the markets with USDA reports looming Thursday. Recent news of Chinese buying and hopes for much more of the same probably supported wheat futures, as did talk of forecast dryness over the northern Plains. However, traders were seemingly unwilling to push prices far in either direction ahead of the weekly Export Sales and monthly WASDE reports due from the USDA Thursday morning. September CBOT wheat edged upward 1.5 cents to $6.79/bushel as the Wednesday trading session ended, while September KCBT wheat gained 4.25 cent to $7.09, and September MGE futures were unchanged at $7.6875.

Nearby cattle futures led the complex modestly lower Wednesday. That may mean bullish traders were giving up on previously held ideas that the cash market had reached its summer low. Ongoing wholesale losses may have persuaded them that packers will prove able to keep spot prices under downward pressure. August cattle declined 0.65 cents to 122.07 cents/pound at their Wednesday settlement, while December skidded 0.22 cents to 128.45. August feeder futures dropped 0.60 cents to 150.55 cents/pound, and November sank 0.17 cents to 156.00.

Hog futures apparently bounced form technical support Wednesday. After testing support associated with their 40-day moving average Tuesday, most-active August lean hog futures moved significantly higher. The fact that the CME lean hog index remains at a substantial premium to Chicago prices almost surely exaggerated the bounce. August hog futures settled 0.52 cents higher at 95.70 cents/pound Wednesday afternoon, while the December contract rebounded 0.95 cents to 82.05.


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