Corn futures turned higher later in the session, closing 8-14 cents higher. Light rain forecast for portions of the Corn Belt over the next few days held price in check early, but anxiety over a prospects for sharply lower production estimates from USDA on Friday sparked renewed buying. Corn also garnered strength from high cattle and soybean price action.
The soybean market traded higher into the close. At the close, beans were up 15 to 23 cents, soyoil was up 27 points, and meal was up $6 to $8 per ton. USDA announced Wednesday morning the sale of 140,000 tons of soybeans to an unidentified buyer. That sales announcement appeared to precipitate rumors and speculation that more buying might be waiting in the wings or was taking place as prices have corrected lower the past few days. Global consumers might be booking some additional coverage ahead of the monthly crop production report. Some forecasters' calls for Midwest rain later this week were moderating factors.
Wheat futures closed in a broad range on Wednesday from nearly 20 cents lower to 12-13 cents higher. Russia indicated they have no plan to restrict wheat imports. The news weighed on prices initially, but Russian officials left the door open for possible export tariffs later if the crop falls short of expectations.
Live cattle futures closed higher with gains led by the nearby contracts. August delivery notices were accepted by one large firm indicating strong demand for cattle. This helped boost August futures rally an 11 week high. Boxed beef prices were higher on Tuesday and again at midday on Wednesday. Choice beef is up nearly $3.00 within the past two days. Higher beef prices are positive for CME futures and may also provide support to cash price trade later this week.
Lean hog futures settled mixed on Wednesday. Nearby contracts were mostly higher while deferred contracts posted small losses. Corn prices were lower for most of the morning which pressured hog futures, but corn futures finished the day higher. The August contract is near expiration and the October contract is far below cash hog prices. This deviation helped to support October hog futures prices. Cash hog prices were higher on Tuesday but bids were mostly steady to lower on Wednesday. Slaughter for this week will probably be down from a year ago because three plants were closed on Monday. On a daily basis slaughter is about even with last year, but hog weights are still higher. The October contract settled at $75.63, up 70 cents, December was 38 cents higher at $73.63.