Corn futures closed strongly higher on Wednesday. Futures rallied on news this morning that China had purchased 115,000 tonnes of U.S. corn, the first purchase from them in nearly four years. Firm cash markets remain a supportive factor for the front end. But new-crop fundamentals are generally bearish. Strong planting progress and ideas of increased acreage benefit yield prospects for this year’s crop. May ended 9 1/2 cents higher at $3.57 and July was 10 1/4 cents higher.   


Soybean futures were steady to higher on Wednesday. Spillover support from corn, the recovery in the stock market and firm crude oil prices helped support soybean trade. But gains were limited by strength in the dollar and talk that China had bought soyoil and soybeans from Argentina compared to recent purchases from the U.S. May closed unchanged at $9.82 3/4 and July ended 1/2 of a cent higher at $9.93 1/2.    


Wheat futures closed lower on Wednesday. Strength in the dollar and bearish fundamentals pressured prices. Winter wheat condition ratings are well above average and soil moisture levels are adequate. Weather forecasts show no threat of threatening temperatures. Losses were limited by spillover strength in corn. CBOT May ended 2 cents lower at $4.76 1/4, KCBT May was 1 cent lower at $4.91 1/2 and MGE May closed 3 1/4 cents lower at $5.13.


Cattle futures closed mixed on Wednesday. Front futures were pressured by profit-taking after the June contract failed to match its contract highs on Tuesday. Boxed beef prices turned lower at midday, with choice cutouts down 68 cents. Firm cash prices and the rebound in the stock market helped prevent further losses. April closed unchanged at $98.05 and June was 30 cents lower at $93.43.


Lean hog futures ended mixed on Wednesday. The 88 cent drop in pork cutouts and follow-through selling from Tuesday weighed on front end contracts. But losses were limited and deferreds were firm due to strength in the cash market and a rebound in the stock market. Tight supplies of market ready hogs are forcing packers to increase bids. June closed 35 cents lower at $84.60 and July was 5 cents lower at $84.65.