Corn futures closed steady to slightly higher on Thursday. The market traded higher on bullish momentum from the Supply/Demand report and strong weekly export sales. Export sales last week were reported this morning at 47.7 million bushels. Sales were above trade expectations and old-crop sales were 51% above the previous 4-week average. However, gains were limited by sharp losses in soybeans and wheat while the dollar was strongly higher. March was 1/2 of a cent higher at $6.98 1/2 and December ended unchanged at $6.14 1/2.
Soybean futures traded lower on Thursday. The market turned lower today on profit-taking, fund selling and strong gains in the dollar index. Recent beneficial rainfall in Argentina and prospects for a large crop in Brazil are also bearish factors. Old-crop export sales were marketing year low, although new-crop commitments were strong once again. March closed 18 cents lower at $14.33 and November is 11 1/2 cents lower at $13.85 1/2.
Wheat futures closed sharply lower on Thursday. Fund selling and profit-taking pressured wheat futures today. Strong gains in the dollar helped trigger the weakness. Weekly export sales reported this morning of 18.7 million bushels were within trade expectations, but old-crop commitments were 40% below the previous 4-week average. CBOT March was 23 1/4 cents lower at $8.62 3/4, KCBT March ended 20 cents lower at $9.68 and MGE March closed 12 1/4 cents lower at $10.14 3/4.
Cattle futures closed strongly higher on Thursday. The market was supported by technical buying and concern that cold weather in the Plains may cut feedlot performance and reduce beef production. However, effects of the cold are expected to be limited as warmer weather is forecast for the weekend and next week. Cash trade has yet to develop, but traders were looking for steady bids. The rally in futures may increase feedlots resolve to hold out for higher bids. February ended $1.18 higher at $108.90 and April was $1.80 higher at $113.08.
Lean hog futures traded sharply higher on Thursday. Strength in the cash market and the 45 cent jump in pork cutouts on Wednesday are supporting trade. Cold weather in the upper Midwest is disrupting hog marketings. Futures are building on contract highs and the June contract hit $102.80 today, which is a record high price for a lean hog contract. February closed $1.55 higher at $86.73 and April was $2.45 higher at $93.70.