Thursday's Export Sales report was generally disappointing

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Thursday’s USDA Export Sales data disappointed crop traders. Today’s weekly report stated old-crop corn sales below the forecast range, while the new crop figure came in on the low side. Given the technical/pragmatic slide begun yesterday, it was hardly surprising to see prices continue declining this morning. Bulls had to be encouraged by the subsequent bounce. May corn settled just 1.0 cent lower at $5.0125/bushel Thursday, while December slipped 0.5 to $5.05.

The report wasn’t helpful to the soy complex either. Today’s Export Sales totals for soybeans were mediocre, with the actual figures coming in around the middle of forecast ranges. That probably encouraged bears hearing talk of sizeable Chinese cancellations of U.S. and Brazilian purchases. The meal market proved relatively firm, but the nearby contracts still lost ground on the day. May soybeans dove 13.0 cents to $14.8225/bushel at Thursday’s close, while May soyoil dropped 0.41 cents to 42.50 cents/pound, and May soymeal slipped $2.6 to $479.5/ton.

The wheat markets also reacted poorly to the export data. Although pessimism about the likely success of the U.S. winter crop continues supporting futures prices, the wheat markets turned decidedly lower after today’s export data were released. Last week’s old crop sales were especially poor, thereby suggesting international demand is dwindling at current price levels. May CBOT wheat futures tumbled 6.75 cents to $6.6625/bushel in late Thursday action, while May KCBT wheat futures fell 10.75 cents to $7.225, and May MWE futures sank 11.75 cents to $7.01.

Nearby cattle futures dipped in Thursday trading. The cattle/beef industry is anticipating sizeable seasonal losses during the days and weeks ahead, but they had risen Wednesday night on seeming ideas that the implied drop was too large. However, the large beef losses posted Wednesday afternoon seemed to come to fore today. June cattle futures slumped 0.42 cents to 135.20 cents/pound at Thursday’s settlement, while December sagged 0.15 to 140.40. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle stumbled 0.55 cents lower to 179.67 cents/pound, but August rose 0.07 to 181.92.

Hog futures ended Thursday mostly lower. After seemingly posting a major top last week, the hog and pork complex has proven generally weak lately. Cash prices firmed Wednesday, which apparently sparked the concurrent CME rebound. But falling pork price reportedly undercut packer demand for hogs today, thereby putting pressure on CME swine values as well. June hog futures closed just 0.60 cents lower at 120.62 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, and December lost 0.90 to 88.65.

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