Corn futures settled higher on Thursday. The market was supported by weakness in the dollar, strong weekly export sales and the winter storm in the Corn Belt that will delay the tail end of harvest. Weekly export sales reported this morning were well above trade expectations at 60.2 million bushels, a new high for the marketing year. Gains were limited by thin, pre-holiday trade. The March contract was 3 3/4 cents higher at $4.08 1/2. May was 3 1/2 cents higher at $4.18 3/4.
Soybean futures settled slightly lower on Thursday. The market traded slightly higher early on weakness in the dollar and strong export demand. Weekly export sales reported this morning of 44.1 million bushels were at the high end of trade expectations. But futures turned lower on pre-holiday position evening and favorable crop weather for the newly planted crop in South America. January closed 1 3/4 cents lower at $9.99 1/2 and March was 1 cent lower at $10.08.
Wheat futures were lower on Thursday. The market was pressured by poor export sales and abundant U.S. and global wheat stocks. The weekly export sales report released this morning at 8.1 million bushels fell well below trade expectations. Losses were limited by weakness in the dollar. CBOT March ended 4 1/2 cents lower at $5.24 1/2, KCBT March was 4 1/2 cents lower at $5.24 1/2 and MGE March closed 5 1/4 cents lower at $5.29.
Cattle futures closed slightly lower on Thursday in light, pre-holiday trade. Cash prices were firm this week ahead of the winter storm, but the storm appears to be tracking further north than previously expected, which should limit the negative impact on feedlot performance. December closed 20 cents lower at $83.08 and February was 63 cents lower at $84.75.
Lean hog futures were lower on Thursday, with a late session sell-off extending losses for front end contracts ahead of the holiday break. Profit-taking from the gains on Wednesday are weighing on the market. The weak tone in the cash market this week and declining pork cutout values are bearish fundamental factors. February closed $1.88 lower at $63.80 and April was $1.78 lower at $68.35.