Ag markets took some rather divergent paths Wednesday

Favorable crop prospects seemed to renew pressure on CBOT corn Wednesday. Talk that recent corn and wheat losses will reinvigorate demand boosted those markets Tuesday night, but yellow grain increases prices couldn't be sustained. Traders apparently resumed their recent sales in response to the favorable moisture situation across the Corn Belt. July corn slipped 2.0 cents to $4.5625/bushel in late Wednesday trading, while December slid 0.75 cent to $4.535.

The soy complex proved very mixed Wednesday. Favorable Corn Belt weather seemed to weigh on most soybean futures, despite the fact that old-crop quotes aren't really subject to the new crop situation. Ultimately, bulls pushed the July contract price slightly above its pivotal 40-day moving average. Strong technical buying boosted oil, whereas meal seemed to suffer as crush spreads were unwound. July soybeans climbed 1.25 cents to $14.825/bushel Wednesday afternoon, while July soyoil jumped 0.90 cents to 39.25 cents/pound, and July soymeal sagged $3.1 to $496.5/ton.

Old-crop activity seems to support the wheat markets. The improved U.S. moisture situation and bearish international fundamentals have depressed wheat prices lately. Traders now suspect those losses will trigger renewed export interest, whereas the lower prices are discouraging farmer sales. Whatever the underlying cause, futures proving surprisingly firm. July CBOT wheat futures rallied 2.0 cents to $6.145/bushel at their Wednesday settlement, while July KCBT wheat added 5.75 cents to $7.135 and July MWE futures ran up 5.0 cents to $6.895.

Cattle futures ended Wednesday mostly higher. Buying from grocers is apparently proving quite strong on a seasonal basis, thereby playing a big role in this week's early gains. However, one has to wonder if packers will pay up for country cattle later this week, since fed cattle supplies are usually approaching their annual highs at this time. That probably explains today's June futures slippage. August cattle settled 0.10 cents higher at 140.17 cents/pound Wednesday, while December gained 0.45 cents to 146.82. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle bounced 0.47 cents to 198.77 cents/pound, and October advanced 0.65 to 199.92.

Cash slippage seemed to weigh on Chicago hogs. Although the hog/pork industry is anticipating a big summer rally as seasonally strong demand is met by supplies truncated by piglet losses to PEDV disease, the cash and wholesale markets didn't cooperate this morning. That seemed to trigger losses by most contracts, but August edged slightly higher. August hog futures crept up 0.15 cents to 127.80 cents/pound in late Wednesday action, while December dropped 0.47 to 94.27.

Poor export news may have undercut cotton futures. The U.S. Commerce Department published its latest cotton export data this morning, with the April figure, at 235,097 running bales, falling about 80,000 or 25% below the comparable year-ago figure. That news probably sparked today's ICE losses. July cotton dove 1.28 cents to 86.08 cents/pound as ICE trading ended Wednesday, while December cotton tumbled 0.22 to 77.88.


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