Ag markets diverged Wednesday morning

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Weather and ethanol news may be boosting corn futures Wednesday morning. The latest weather maps suggest persistent rainfall and returning cold over parts of the Corn Belt next week; that could delay and/or limit spring plantings. Meanwhile, the latest API report indicated strong ethanol production last week. May corn rose 4.5 cents to $5.0075/bushel late Wednesday morning, while December rallied 5.25 to $5.01.

The soy complex is trading in decidedly mixed fashion. Reports of Brazilian soybeans being diverted toward the U.S. are very likely weighing on nearby soybean futures today, while soyoil prices are apparently following Asian palm prices lower. However, talk of planting delays seems to be boosting new crop soy values. May soybeans slid 3.0 cents to $14.7675/bushel just before lunchtime Wednesday, while May soyoil dropped 0.19 cents to 42.55 cents/pound, and May soymeal inched $0.1 lower to $479.7/ton.

Precipitation forecasts may be weighing on the wheat markets. The Black Sea situation remains tense, which is probably providing general support for wheat futures at this juncture. Persistent dryness in the southern Plains may be spurring some buying as well. However, such strength is probably being limited by forecasts for improved moisture over significant portions of the Midwest. May CBOT wheat futures edged up 4.0 cents to $6.77/bushel around midsession Wednesday, while May KCBT wheat futures gained 5.5 cents to $7.4675, and May MWE futures advanced 3.0 to $7.2325.

Cash market concerns seemed to depressing cattle futures. Surprisingly large beef gains posted early this week apparently spurred strong buying in the cattle pit Tuesday. However, CME traders reportedly worry that the cash markets will continue their seasonal decline later this week, with their resulting selling pushing prices downward this morning. June cattle futures sank 0.12 cents to 134.85 cents/pound in late Wednesday morning action, while December tumbled 0.20 cents to 140.25. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle crept up 0.20 cents to 178.55 cents/pound, and August added 0.22 to 182.50.

Cash firmness is apparently encouraging hog traders. Although wholesale pork prices have fallen quite sharply lately, CME futures have rebounded strongly from this week’s lows. The implied optimism probably stems from reports of country market firmness, as well as bullish expectations about the late-spring outlook. June hog futures surged 0.92 cents to 124.17 cents/pound late Wednesday morning, while December climbed 0.67 to 89.55.



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