Ag markets were mixed to higher Thursday

Corn maintained its pattern of old crop strength and new crop losses Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated old-crop sales for last week at 336,600 tonnes, which easily topped forecasts. That reminded traders of the tightness of current supplies. Conversely, favorable Corn Belt conditions continued depressing the deferred contracts. July corn futures ended the day 5.75 cents higher at $6.6725/bushel Thursday, while December fell 5.5 cent to $5.385.

The soy complex diverged again Thursday, with meal outshining oil. The tightness of the old crop soy situation was reemphasized once again as cash markets remained very firm. That news apparently boosted nearby soybean futures and the whole board in the soybean meal pit. In contrast, the relatively liquid soyoil situation (pardon the pun) was apparently exaggerated by ideas it will worsen as the industry crushes beans for meal. July soybean futures settled 13.5 cents higher at $15.485/bushel Thursday afternoon, while July soymeal leapt $16.3 to $479.6/ton; July soyoil sank 0.23 cents to 46.40 cents/pound.

Wheat futures were mixed Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated the latest total at 731,800 tonnes, thereby making forecasts in the 350,000-550,000 tonnes look rather small. That supported prices in early trading. However, anecdotal reports of surprisingly strong winter wheat yields apparently weighed upon the Midwest markets, with the July Minneapolis contract suffering a major reversal. Less benign weather forecasts seemingly supported new crop spring wheat prices. July CBOT wheat dipped 3.5 cents to $6.635/bushel at the Thursday close, while July KCBT wheat dropped 7.75 cents to $6.865, and July MGE futures dove 12.5 cents to $7.865.

Cattle traders seemingly suspect cash prices have posted their 2013 lows. Although cash trading is not expected until Friday afternoon, CME traders pushed the Chicago market higher again Thursday. USDA reports indicating a significant bounce in beef cutout probably encouraged buying as well. August cattle closed 0.75 cents higher at 122.92 cents/pound in late Thursday trading, while December climbed 0.77 cents at 128.15. Meanwhile, August feeder futures gained 0.77 cents to 149.70 cents/pound, and November ascended 0.90 cents to 154.67.

Pork strength boosted hog futures again Thursday. Traders still think seasonal weakness will depress the hog and pork complex over the short term, but soaring wholesale market has clearly encouraged renewed optimism. Whether the ongoing wholesale advance can be sustained beyond Independence Day is very much open to question. July hog futures spiked 2.02 cents to 101.97 cents/pound at its Thursday close, while the December contract added 1.10 to 83.70.


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