Financial market action sent commodities higher Wednesday afternoon. After trading weakly through much of Wednesday, the ag markets turned decisively higher in the wake of a somewhat more dovish interest rate stance taken by the Federal Reserve Board today. Equity markets surged, while the U.S. dollar dove. That spurred big gains across the commodity sector. The corn market reaction was rather muted. May corn futures closed up 3.75 cents at $3.7475/bushel Wednesday, while December bounced 3.25 to $4.00.
The soy complex built on early gains after the Fed news. Soybean and product futures rose modestly in early Wednesday action, with traders citing bargain hunting and Asian palm oil strength for those gains. The rally then accelerated in concert with the equity markets after the Fed’s post-meeting statement. Concurrent U.S. dollar losses almost surely encouraged bulls as well. May soybean futures climbed 10.5 cents to $9.65/bushel at their Wednesday settlement, while May soyoil advanced 0.595 cents to 30.63 cents/pound, and May meal added $3.3 to $320.8/ton.
The wheat markets turned higher as well. The latest weather models reportedly reduced or eliminated chances of widespread southern Plains precipitation next week, which seemingly supported the wheat markets Wednesday morning. Prices then moved substantially higher in reaction to the Fed news and subsequent financial market activity. May CBOT wheat rallied 7.25 cents to $5.1075/bushel in late Wednesday trading, while May KC wheat surged 10.25 cents to $5.53/bushel, and May MWE wheat rose 8.25 to $5.78.
Cattle futures also posted an impressive advance Wednesday. Live cattle futures traded firmly this morning, with traders citing bull spreading and short-covering for the rise. Still, one also has to suspect fresh expectations for seasonal cash and wholesale strength played a role in the late-morning breakout to the upside. The financial market action encouraged bulls as well. April cattle futures leapt the 3.0-cent daily limit to 156.57 cents/pound at Wednesday’s CME close, while August cattle jumped 2.85 cents to 146.40 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April and August feeder cattle futures spiked their 4.50-cent daily limits to 214.30 and 214.37 cents/pound, respectively.
Hogs clearly lagged the other markets. In contrast to the big gains posted by the other ag markets, hog futures closed poorly. That very likely reflected industry pessimism about short-term prospects for the cash and wholesale markets. Traders apparently expect big supplies to overwhelm seasonally improving demand. April hog futures ended Wednesday having fallen 1.07 cents to 60.70 cents/pound, while June hogs sank 0.67 to 75.12.