Ag markets diverged substantially Wednesday

Corn futures declined moderately Wednesday. A story indicating that China has rejected about 30% of recent U.S. corn shipments due to contamination with an unapproved GMO strain hit the newswires overnight, but CBOT futures reacted little. However, an ag industry advisory service boosted its estimate of 2014 U.S. corn plantings in a midmorning report, which pushed prices lower on the day. March and May corn futures closed 1.75 cents lower at $4.25 and $4.335/bushel, respectively, Wednesday afternoon.

Talk of diminished exports may have undercut soybeans. The soy complex also suffered from a general lack of news Wednesday morning, but the supportive nature of recent reports, especially on the demand side, apparently encouraged fresh buying in the bean and meal pits. However, news that traders are expecting a weekly reduction on Thursday's Export Sales report, as well as surprisingly high industry forecast for U.S. plantings next year seemingly sank bean and meal prices. January soybeans dove 22.5 cents to $13.24/bushel at their Wednesday settlement, while January soyoil fell 0.25 cents to 39.06 cents/pound, and January soymeal declined $6.8 to $441.2/ton.

The wheat markets also turned lower. Little fresh news concerning the wheat outlook emerged Tuesday night, which seemingly left the door open for persistent selling. Midmorning news that an industry firm had cut its estimate of 2013-14 winter wheat acreage seemed supportive, but futures losses widened as the day passed. March CBOT wheat futures dropped 7.0 cents to $6.1275/bushel in late Wednesday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures tumbled 6.75 cents to $6.5375, and March MWE futures dipped 3.25 to $6.4675.

Cattle futures remained weak Wednesday. After surging early this week, choice beef cutout turned sharply lower yesterday afternoon. That news, along with nearby futures' recent inability to top major technical resistance seemingly set a bearish tone for short-term prospects. February cattle futures tumbled 0.62 cents to 132.35 cents/pound as CME trading wound down Wednesday, while April futures lost 0.60 cents to 133.45. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle futures plunged 1.10 cents to 166.05 cents/pound and March fell 0.52 to 165.85.

Resurgent cash prices sparked today's hog gains. Anticipation of short-run weakness in cash and wholesale prices sent hog futures lower Tuesday. However, yesterday's late cash quotes came in higher than expected, thereby giving CME prices a substantial boost. Pork losses posted at midday apparently did little to discourage bulls. February hog futures rallied 0.70 cents to 86.35 cents/pound in late Wednesday action, and June jumped 1.02 to 99.92.


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