The corn market traded sideways Thursday night. Yesterday’s weekly USDA Export Sales report seemed quite supportive of the corn market, but bulls proved unable to sustain the bullish response. Little pertinent news emerged overnight, which may be one reason futures are trading narrowly mixed this morning. The trend is currently pointing lower. March corn edged 0.25 cent higher to $3.7175/bushel early Friday morning, while July stalled at $3.8775.
News of a Pakistani purchase boosted soyoil futures. Signs of underlying demand strength have recently driven moderate gains in soymeal futures and supported the bean market, which has been rather impressive when viewed in light of the looming South American harvest. Conversely, falling crude and palm oil quotes have depressed soybean oil. This week’s EPA approval of Argentine oil for the U.S. biodiesel program also hit hard. Oil has bounced after Pakistan announced the purchase of 60,000 tonnes of U.S. soyoil. March soybean futures moved up 1.5 cents to $9.6975/bushel Thursday night, while March soyoil bounced 0.23 to 29.77 cents/pound, whereas March meal skidded $0.9 to $337.0/ton.
Wheat futures exhibited surprising strength overnight. Thursday’s Export Sales report indicated last week’s wheat movement had been unexpectedly large, and seemed to give rise to ideas that the losses suffered over the past six weeks have rendered U.S. grain more competitive on the global market. Indeed, such thinking reportedly powered modest Thursday night gains. March CBOT wheat gained 3.0 cents to $5.1075/bushel in early Friday action, while March KC wheat climbed 4.0 to $5.48/bushel, and March MWE wheat rose 2.75 to $5.62.
Nearby cattle futures couldn’t sustain their recent bounce. Ideas that recent weakness across the cattle/beef sector have been overdone supported cattle futures early this week. However, midweek beef losses and news of southern Plains cash slippage apparently dragged CME prices lower. The fact that nearby futures held up comparatively well might be a point in the bulls’ favor, but Thursday’s beef drop probably presages a weak Friday opening. February live cattle futures ended Thursday having sagged 0.42 cents to 153.52 cents/pound, while April cattle fell 1.00 cent to 150.50 cents/pound. March feeder cattle futures slumped 0.77 cents to 203.57, and May feeders tumbled 1.20 cents to 204.70.
Big pork losses depressed hog futures. The hog market seemingly sent signals of bottoming Tuesday and Wednesday, which gave hope to long-suffering bulls. However, Thursday’s midsession pork reports indicated another big wholesale drop, which quickly reversed the Chicago market’s early gains. Afternoon reports confirmed the wholesale breakdown, thereby suggesting a poor opening this morning. February hog futures plummeted 2.97 cents to 68.55 cents/pound at their Thursday settlement, while June hogs dropped 0.95 cents to 83.62.
Cotton futures set back Thursday night. Yesterday’s weekly USDA Export Sales report stated the cotton sales total at 546,200 bales, which marked yet another high for the current crop year. ICE futures reacted quite modestly despite the concurrent equity surge. Industry insiders probably anticipated the news, but traders seeing the modest ICE reaction seem unimpressed this morning, since futures gave back those gains overnight. March cotton futures slid 0.39 cents to 59.18 cents/pound shortly after dawn Friday, while the July contract sank 0.38 to 60.91.