Talk of growing South American dryness is supporting corn futures. Although renewed U.S. dollar strength may affect what has been robust export demand, corn futures rose again overnight. Wire service sources cited weather forecasts for increasing dryness over South America’s main soy and grain growing areas for the gains. March corn futures rallied 1.25 cents to $4.0625/bushel Tuesday night, while July added 1.0 to $4.2125.
South American weather is also boosting the soy complex. Soybean and product prices are probably less vulnerable to demand reductions than the other crops, so they have seemed less responsive to U.S. dollar strength. Moreover, given the size of South American harvest forecasts, weather that reduces those totals could prove very supportive of global soy prices. March soybean futures rose 2.0 cents to $10.5775/bushel early Wednesday morning, while March soyoil climbed 0.31 to 33.18 cents/pound, and March meal inched up $0.8 to $355.9/ton.
Arctic conditions over the winter wheat areas are again supporting futures. The central U.S. is clearly being dominated by extremely frigid conditions, with temperatures in many areas likely to fall below zero degrees Fahrenheit tonight. The threat of winter kill is supporting wheat futures as a result, but Tuesday’s late decline is handicapping bulls. March CBOT wheat slipped 0.5 cent to $5.9125/bushel in early Wednesday action, while March KC wheat edged 0.25 cent higher to $6.315/bushel, and March MWE wheat skidded 0.25 to $6.2525.
Cash news probably limited Tuesday’s CME cattle losses. News of a huge cash market rebound and persistent wholesale strength sparked recent gains in CME cattle futures. Traders appeared to expect flat to lower prices later this week, but news that Panhandle prices had surged to $170/cwt (cents/pound) likely convinced the industry that the cash rally will continue over the short run. Late beef strength suggests a firm opening today. February live cattle skidded just 0.20 cents to 166.02 cents/pound as the CME pit session ended Tuesday, while April futures declined 0.45 cents to 165.00. January feeder cattle futures dropped 0.97 cents to 224.70 cents/pound and March feeders plunged 2.50 cents to 220.87.
Hog traders appeared to give up on bullish positions Tuesday. The hog and pork industry has been anticipating a seasonal rally during the days and weeks ahead. However, they seemingly threw in the towel on short-term bullish positions yesterday, despite the fact that Monday’s (one-day) quote used in calculating the CME index was actually higher than last Friday’s. Still, the afternoon spot reports seemingly presaged a weak opening. February hog futures ended Tuesday having dived 1.35 cents to 78.57 cents/pound, while June hogs tumbled 1.47 cents to 90.50.
Renewed equity strength seems to be supporting cotton futures. Little fresh news concerning the cotton outlook has emerged lately, so traders seem to be trying to anticipate 2015 supply/demand conditions. Ultimately, shifts in the equity indexes are seen as indicators of future economic growth and demand potential, so the overnight rebound in stock index futures seemed to translate into modest cotton gains. March cotton futures crept up 0.05 cents to 60.25 cents/pound shortly after dawn Wednesday, while the July contract rose 0.09 to 61.81.