Brazilian news likely encouraged crop market bulls Wednesday night. Brazil’s USDA equivalent CONAB published its latest crop estimates early this morning, with dry weather modestly reducing both the corn and bean crops. The corn forecast dropped 700,000 tonnes (to 78.4 million), which probably spurred buying in Chicago. March corn gained 1.25 cents to $3.87/bushel in predawn Thursday action, while July rose 1.75 to $4.03.
Reduced Brazilian production also boosted the soy complex. CONAB officials reduced their estimate of that country’s forthcoming soybean harvest 1.3 million to 94.6 million tonnes. That also predicted a 1.8 million-tonne cut in its 2015 exports, which probably amplified the report’s impact upon U.S. markets. Rebounding crude oil futures likely supported soyoil values as well. March soybean futures rallied 2.75 cents to $9.805/bushel in early Thursday trading, while March soyoil added 0.03 cents to 31.78 cents/pound, and March meal edged up $1.4 to $331.0/ton.
A Japanese tender apparently supported the wheat markets. Strength spilling over from the corn and soybean markets seemingly spilled over into the wheat pits in early trading, but bulls could also point to news of a big Japanese wheat tender, the bulk of which was sourced in Canada and the U.S. Chicago and Minneapolis moved mostly higher, while KC prices lagged. March CBOT wheat climbed 0.25 cents to $5.26/bushel early Thursday morning, while March KC wheat slid 0.5 cent to $5.5875/bushel, and March MWE wheat stalled at $5.76.
Cattle futures proved surprisingly weak Wednesday. There was little early morning news concerning the cattle markets, with wire service reports indicating profit-taking for the surprising morning decline. Sourced cited concerns about excessive supplies, but stifled exports are very likely playing a big role in the current bear market. Sideways CME trading despite beef strength suggests a mixed opening. April live cattle futures had dived 2.67 cents to 151.10 cents/pound when Wednesday’s CME pit session halted, while August cattle tumbled 2.32 cents to 141.77 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures crashed 3.27 cents to 198.75 cents/pound and May feeders plummeted 3.55 to 198.27.
Persistent cash weakness seemed to depress CME hogs. With the West Coast port situation seeming likely to limit exports for several more weeks, hog traders are not confident about the short-term price outlook. That probably explains yesterday’s early losses. Pork cutouts bounced significantly at midsession, but that did little to limit the Chicago drop. However, futures rallied in GLOBEX action on pork gains. Look for a higher opening. April hog futures dove 2.75 cents to 63.82 cents/pound at Wednesday’s CME settlement, while June hogs plunged 2.40 to 77.22.
Financial market developments may be supporting cotton quotes. Wire service sources cited long liquidation for much of Wednesday’s ICE cotton decline, which apparently reflected trader caution ahead of this morning’s weekly Export Sales report. Futures rebounded modestly overnight in seeming response to a big gain in equity index futures and a concurrent U.S. dollar decline. March cotton futures bounced 0.22 cents to 62.24 cents/pound soon after dawn Thursday, while the July contract moved up 0.11 to 62.80.