Weather forecasts and export news sent corn prices sharply higher Thursday. Predictions for summery weather in late August boosted the grain and soy markets Wednesday night, since heat and dryness could significantly reduce harvest prospects. Bulls were also encouraged by the weekly USDA Export Sales report, which easily topped forecasts. September corn jumped 16.75 cents to $4.815/bushel late Thursday, while December leapt 17.0 cents to $4.7225.

The soy complex also surged in Thursday trading. Given the soybean crop’s greater responsiveness to August weather, forecasts for increased heat and dryness later this month were seen as being particularly bullish for soybean and product prices. The Export Sales report also indicated much stronger commitments than anticipated, thereby adding to the optimistic atmosphere. September soybeans soared 18.75 cents to $12.8825/bushel at the Thursday close, while November beans zoomed up 26.5 to $12.655. September soyoil bounced 0.78 cents to 43.12 cents/pound, and September soymeal climbed $2.6 to $409.8/ton.

The wheat markets followed corn and beans higher again Thursday. Although the global wheat situation seems likely to be more liquid than that for corn and soybeans during the coming months, today’s gains in the other markets pulled wheat prices higher as well. The rise also came despite a rather disappointing result on the weekly Export Sales report. September CBOT wheat closed 7.0 cents higher at $6.375/bushel Thursday afternoon; September KCBT wheat advanced 4.25 cents to $7.03, and September MGE futures added 3.5 cents to $7.395.

Cattle futures posted weak settlements Thursday afternoon. After firming in response to good wholesale news Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, the cattle market turned lower in apparent response to the concurrent breakdown suffered by the equity markets. However, the midday beef report indicated another round of significant gains, which greatly limited daily losses. October cattle futures slid 0.07 cents to 128.10 cents/pound as trading wound down Thursday, while December sank 0.12 cents to 129.87. September feeder cattle stumbled 0.37 cents to 157.07 cents/pound, and November dropped 0.38 cents to 160.02.

Lean hog futures turned lower Thursday. Although the swine market remained steady overnight, the cash and wholesale losses published in Wednesday afternoon USDA reports apparently weighed upon prices. Concurrent equity losses probably exaggerated selling later in the day. October hog futures fell 0.85 cents to 87.30 cents/pound around midday Thursday, while December tumbled 0.65 cents to 84.02.

Cotton futures were mixed at Thursday’s close. Cotton futures seemed to stall in response to improved weather forecasts for dry areas of Texas in early morning trading. However, the gains posted by the other crop markets seemingly support white fiber values. Large equity market losses probably added to bearish concerns later in the day. December cotton futures settled 0.24 cents higher at 91.79 Thursday, while March skidded 0.01 cent to 88.96.