Corn futures closed higher on Thursday. Planting delay concerns, weakness in the dollar and strength in crude oil were supportive factors today ahead of the three-day holiday weekend. Cool and wet weather in the Midwest is delaying planting progress and more wet weather is expected next week despite some extended forecasts for a drier weather pattern. Weekly export sales were reported this morning at 24.1 million bushels of old-crop and 9.6 million bushels of new-crop, which fell within pre-report trade expectations. May ended 4 1/2 cents higher at $7.37 1/4 and December was 10 cents higher at $6.65 1/2.
Soybean futures traded strongly higher on Thursday. The market was supported by outside markets, weekly export sales, weakness in the dollar and positioning ahead of the three-day holiday weekend. Weakness in the dollar and strength in crude oil helped trigger some fund buying in crop markets. Soybean exports sales last week were reported at 12.8 million bushels of old-crop and 7.6 million bushels of new-crop, above expectations following recent weeks with heavy cancellations. May ended 22 3/4 cents higher at $13.80 1/2 and November was 16 1/2 cents higher at $13.82 1/2.
Wheat futures were solidly higher on Thursday. Continued dry weather in the southern Plains has left much of the HRW crop in bad shape and some of the crop will not likely be able to be salvaged. In the northern Plains, cool and wet weather is delaying spring wheat planting and could prevent some acreage from being seeded. The market rallied despite lackluster weekly export sales. Old-crop commitments were 5 million bushels and new-crop sales were 6.2 million. CBOT May closed 14 1/2 cents higher at $7.99 1/2, KCBT May ended 12 1/2 cents higher at $9.32 1/2 and MGE May was 12 3/4 cents higher at $9.51 1/2.
Cattle futures closed lower on Thursday. Profit-taking turned futures prices lower ahead of the three-day holiday weekend as beef prices fell sharply at midday. Choice beef cutouts were down $2.14 at midday. Positioning ahead of the Cattle on Feed report due out after the close kept some trade on the sidelines. June ended $1.28 lower at $115.23 and August was $1.03 lower at $116.68.
Lean hog futures traded lower on Thursday. Spillover pressure from cattle and profit-taking ahead of the three-day holiday weekend pushed the market lower. The market was supported early by weakness in the dollar and firm cash markets on Wednesday. However, cash bids turned lower today and there is some concern that high pork prices will limit the seasonal strength in pork demand. June closed $1.28 lower at $115.23 and August was $1.03 lower at $116.68.