Ag markets traded widely Thursday

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Corn futures bounced from early Thursday losses. The early-morning CONAB data concerning Brazilian corn production seemed to exert little impact upon prices. The weekly Export Sales report stated last week’s U.S. corn sales well below expectations, thereby triggering active Chicago sales. However, the market rebounded as the day passed. July corn settled 2.5 cents higher at $5.165/bushel Thursday afternoon, while December rose 2.0 cents to $5.115.

Export news boosted the soy complex Thursday. Soybean and product prices proved firm this morning despite a modest increase in CONAB’s latest estimate for Brazilian production; pre-report estimates were generally higher. The weekly Export Sales report looked supportive, but the real driver of today’s early gains was a daily USDA report of 140,000 tonnes headed to an unknown destination. That suggests export demand remains viable. July soybeans jumped 23.25 cents to $14.695/bushel at their Thursday close, while July soyoil advanced 0.29 cents to 41.12 cents/pound, and July soymeal surged $5.8 to $480.7/ton.

Diminished Black Sea tensions may have undercut the wheat markets. Talk that Russian forces had pulled back from the Ukraine border Wednesday afternoon seemingly reduced tensions in the Black Sea region and depressed spring wheat futures. Bullish profit-taking ahead of tomorrow’s WASDE report probably came into the markets as well. Still, new crop prices exhibited modest strength. July CBOT wheat futures sagged 2.5 cents to $7.3525/bushel late Thursday action, while July KCBT wheat futures bounced 1.0 cent to $8.425, and July MWE futures stumbled 0.75 to $8.0575.

Talk of cash firmness may be supporting cattle futures. As usual, cash cattle trading was at a standstill early this week, but Nebraska animals reportedly began changing hands at steady levels today. This suggests the country markets won’t be as weak as packers hope despite wholesale weakness. June cattle edged up 0.35 cents to 137.92 cents/pound as pit trading ended Thursday, while December gained 0.07 cents to 144.27. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle slumped 0.40 cents to 190.27 cents/pound, and October lost 0.50 cents to 191.02.

Cash and wholesale slippage continued weighing on CME hogs. The hog and pork complex has remained relatively weak after pork values plummeted Tuesday. Bulls have to worry that prices will continue declining from record highs during May, thereby contravening the traditional spring rally. June hog futures fell 1.02 cents to 120.15 cents/pound Thursday, while December dropped 0.42 cents to 94.37.



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