Corn futures closed higher on Thursday. Firm cash markets and better-than-expected weekly export sales reported this morning supported futures. Export commitments last week of 45.1 million bushels of old and new-crop corn were above trade expectations. Further gains were limited by strength in the dollar and continued favorable planting weather in the Midwest. May ended 5 1/4 cents higher at $3.63 1/4 and July was 5 1/4 cents higher at $3.73 3/4.


 


Soybean futures settled solidly higher on Thursday. Firm cash market and technical buying helped push prices higher. Weekly export sales last week of 16.6 million bushels were within trade expectations. Further gains were limited by strength in the dollar and the ongoing harvest of what is estimated to be record crops in South America. May closed 15 cents higher at $9.84 and July was 16 cents higher at $9.93.  


 


Wheat futures traded higher on Thursday. Spillover strength from corn and short-covering were supportive factors. Gains are being limited by bearish fundamentals and strength in the dollar. Weekly export sales reported this morning were only 15.1 million bushels of old and new-crop. Old-crop sales of 3.7 million bushels were well below the pace needed to reach USDA’s export forecast. CBOT May closed 5 1/2 cents higher at $4.80 1/4, KCBT May ended 6 cents higher at $4.96 1/2 and MGE May was 5 1/2 cents higher at $5.12.


 


Cattle futures closed strongly higher on Thursday. Short-covering from the recent sell-off supported futures trade. Bullish export news from February and slight gains in beef prices at midday helped extend gains. USDA reported that February beef exports were up 28.3% from last year. April was 88 cents higher at $98.00 and June was $1.35 higher at $94.30.


 

Lean hog futures were higher on Thursday. April hit 20-month high ahead of expiration and all months but July hit new highs. Strength in the cash market and further gains in pork prices supported futures. Pork cutout values were up $1.17 on Wednesday. June closed $1.13 higher at $86.08 and July was $1.43 higher at $86.05.