Equity market weakness may be affecting commodities

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China news apparently boosted corn futures Wednesday morning. Although the market is still suffering from harvest pressure and from a sizeable Brazilian production forecast, prices rose modestly in early trading. That almost surely stemmed from overnight news that a private Chinese firm had bought 420,000 tonnes of U.S. corn last week. December corn futures gained 2.25 cents to $4.44/bushel around midsession Wednesday, while May added 2.0 cents to $4.6475.

Soybeans and meal remained rather weak this morning. Brazil’s CONAB stated forecast that country’s 2013/14 soybean production total in the 87.6-89.7 million tonne range, which essentially matched recent USDA predictions; that robbed the news of market-moving power. As a consequence, beans and meal seemingly continued suffering from U.S. harvest pressure. Oil futures rallied in response to Asian palm oil strength. The product markets are probably responding to the unwinding of meal/oil spreads as well. November soybeans inched 0.75 cent higher to $12.895/bushel in late Wednesday morning action, whereas December soyoil climbed 0.32 cents to 40.75 cents/pound, and December soymeal tumbled $2.9 to $412.0/ton.

Wheat futures turned slightly higher late Wednesday morning. CONAB’s estimate of Brazil’s forthcoming wheat crop largely matched USDA figures, so the news had little market impact. The golden grain outlook still seems rather promising when considering global demand strength, but prices have already risen rather substantially from late-summer lows. That may explain bulls’ recent inability to push prices decisively higher. December CBOT wheat edged up 0.25 cent to $6.9375 bushel just before lunchtime Wednesday, while December KCBT wheat rose 1.0 cent to $7.615, but December MGE futures rose 2.75 cents to $7.56.

Cattle futures may be suffering from equity market spillover. Bearish cattle traders can blame a portion of today’s weakness to a few delivery notices posted against expiring October futures and a partial South Korean ban on U.S. beef after some meat containing Zilmax was found yesterday. However, the ongoing decline in the equity indexes may also be worrying CME traders, since that implies reduced domestic beef demand. December cattle futures sank 0.45 cents to 131.87 cents/pound by late Wednesday morning, while April lost 0.52 to 134.55. Meanwhile, November feeder cattle dipped 0.25 cents to 166.07 cents/pound, and January skidded 0.45 to 166.12.

Cash and wholesale weakness may be undercutting hog futures. The livestock industry is still suffering from reduced information. Nevertheless, the weakness exhibited by the expiring October future this morning strongly suggests the short-term cash and/or pork outlook is less than promising at this juncture. The deferred contracts lost less ground. December hog futures tumbled 0.45 cents to 87.75 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Wednesday, while April fell 0.30 cents to 90.25.

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