The export sales data spurred Thursday morning corn gains. The corn market’s flat Wednesday night performance suggested traders were awaiting the weekly USDA Export Sales report with bated breath. The actual result, at 1,170.6 tonnes easily exceeded industry expectations and apparently sparked a big bullish response. March corn futures rallied 4.75 cents to $3.8675/bushel around midsession Thursday, while July ran up 4.75 to $4.0225.
The export news also boosted bean and meal futures. The soy complex came under modest selling pressure Wednesday night, but this morning’s export numbers proved quite supportive. Both bean and meal totals surpassed forecasts, while the soyoil figure came in toward the upper end of the pre-report range. Energy sector weakness apparently stifled rally attempts in that market, which clearly lagged its CBOT counterparts. January soybean futures gained 5.5 cents to $10.0375/bushel late Thursday morning, while January soyoil sagged 0.38 cents to 31.56 cents/pound, and January meal advanced $3.0 to $356.8/ton.
Wheat futures firmed despite a low export result. The weekly report stated wheat export sales at the low end of industry forecasts, but the wheat markets rebounded from overnight lows nonetheless. Given the late-November rally, numerous traders were probably expecting a real bust on the report. Their buying may have sparked the surprising rebound. March CBOT wheat slipped just 2.0 cents to $5.875/bushel just before lunchtime Thursday, while March KC wheat dipped 4.5 cents to $6.3525/bushel and March MWE wheat skidded 2.5 cents to $6.1875.
Cattle futures firmed around midsession Thursday. Beef cancellations on the weekly Export Sales report undercut the expiring December cattle contracts this morning, but it bounced around midsession. Firming cutouts may have offered support. February and April futures posted modest morning gains. The supply situation still looks extremely tight for the foreseeable future, but the industry is obviously worried about strangled demand. February live cattle ground out a 0.42-cent rise to 167.55 cents/pound by late Wednesday morning, while April moved up 0.32 to 167.17. January feeder cattle futures soared 1.75 cents to 236.57 cents/pound and March feeders vaulted 0.65 to 232.55.
CME hogs are trading mixed. Chicago hog traders seemed uncertain about short-term prospects Thursday morning, with the various contracts seemingly edging in both directions for no obvious reasons. The CME index is expected to inch upward tomorrow, but midday cash and wholesale quotes weren’t encouraging. February hog futures sank 0.27 cents to 86.60 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Thursday, while June hogs rose 0.25 cents to 94.60.