Most ag markets turned lower Thursday

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Corn traders seemed disappointed by Thursday’s Export Sales report. Potential improvements in spring planting conditions have been weighing corn futures. Traders also seemed less than impressed by the weekly USDA Export Sales report, which stated last week’s result toward the lower end of the forecast range. May corn slid 2.75 cents to $4.9475/bushel in late Thursday trading, while December lost 2.25 to $4.9675.

The export data seemed to exacerbate today’s early soy pullback. Soybean and product prices had proved extremely strong in the wake of Tuesday’s bullish NOPA crush report. However, beans were backing away from overnight highs in early trading and the decline accelerated after the export sales result proved mediocre. May soybeans declined 4.75 cents to $15.14/bushel at their Thursday close, while May soyoil sagged 0.30 cents to 43.41 cents/pound, and May soymeal dipped $2.7 to $488.3/ton.

Strong wheat exports boosted those markets Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated last week’s wheat figure above the forecast range, thereby suggesting recent price slippage has sparked renewed international interest. Talk of persistent dryness and freeze damage to Southern Plains wheat also seemed spur buying. May CBOT wheat futures settled 3.25 cents higher at $6.9125/bushel Thursday afternoon, while May KCBT wheat futures climbed 3.5 cents to $7.58, and May MWE futures surged 6.25 to $7.3275.

Cash weakness likely undercut cattle futures. Wednesday’s surprising beef gains appeared to support CME cattle futures in early Thursday trading. However, producers reportedly took about $1-$2 less for the cattle (with packers paying $146-$148/cwt) today. That sent futures tumbling. June cattle futures plunged 1.25 cents to 134.37 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while December dropped 0.30 to 139.67. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle plummeted 1.85 cents to 178.05 cents/pound, and August dove 1.57 to 181.40.

Technicians may have bought hog futures. The latest cash and wholesale news has not been particularly supportive of the short-term hog outlook. Nevertheless, some traders may now be looking for a significant late-spring price rebound, since the market traditionally proves quite strong in May and June. Technicians seemed to buy in anticipation of a larger short-term advance. June hog futures climbed 1.05 cents to 124.82 cents/pound as the CME session ended Thursday, while December moved up 0.25 to 88.75.


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