Ag markets proved generally strong Thursday morning

Corn futures climbed on export news. The weekly USDA Export Sales report seemed very supportive of corn prices, since the stated result at just over 1.4 million tonnes almost doubled the largest of pre-report forecasts. However, the rise may be limited by position squaring ahead of Monday's big USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks report. May corn advanced 7.5 cents to $4.92/bushel Thursday morning, while December added 4.25 to $4.8825.

The export data was less supportive of the soy complex. Talk of domestic tightness boosted soybean and product futures Wednesday night, but the weekly Export Sales report dragged prices lower. The soymeal result seemed somewhat supportive, but the bean and oil figures were disappointing. May soybeans slipped 0.75 cent to $14.3925/bushel around midsession Thursday, while May soyoil declined 0.12 cents to 40.61 cents/pound, and May soymeal added $1.7 to $470.8/ton.

Downgraded weather forecasts appeared to spur fresh wheat buying. Although dry conditions across the Great Plains continue dominating conversations about the wheat outlook, improved early-April forecasts weighed upon futures prices Tuesday and Wednesday. However, the latest predictions are cooler and drier than those posted lately, which apparently spurred renewed buying in the various pits. May CBOT wheat futures climbed 10.0 cents to $7.0675/bushel late Thursday morning, while May KCBT wheat futures ran up 10.25 cents to $7.815 and May MWE futures rose 6.25 cents to $7.53.

Cattle futures resumed their advance this morning. News that Nebraska has posted a $2.00/cwt weekly advance (to record highs over $154.00/cwt) Tuesday evening boosted CME prices rather sharply yesterday. Futures dipped overnight due to trader concerns about seasonally increasing production. However, futures turned upward again this morning, possibly due to the discounts already built into CME prices. April cattle futures rallied 0.32 cents to 146.12 cents/pound in late Thursday morning action, while August advanced 0.60 cents to 135.45. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle surged 0.77 cents to 179.40 cents/pound, and August rose 0.42 to 180.95.

Wednesday afternoon reports boosted hog futures. Talk of cash and wholesale weakness weighed heavily upon hog futures Wednesday morning, but the market bounced back later in the day. Those gains accelerated overnight and again this morning in apparent response to surprising strength on late-Wednesday cash and wholesale reports. April hog futures soared 2.90 cents to 125.37 around lunchtime Thursday, while June leapt 3.00 to 129.30.


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