Hog futures the commodity complex stars Thursday morning

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Corn futures moved generally higher Thursday morning. Old crop prices rose only slightly, due in part to talk that the cash situation has eased somewhat. Although weather forecasts seemingly favor improved harvest prospects, deferred futures moved moderately higher. Wire service reports cited the unwinding of bear spreads and technical factors for the gains. The weekly USDA Export Sales report had little apparent impact upon the market. July corn inched 0.5 cent higher to $6.6125/bushel Thursday morning, while December advanced 4.0 cents to $5.4625.

Despite supportive results on the USDA Export Sales report, soybean and product futures declined Thursday morning. Old crop prices apparently slipped in reaction to talk of an easing cash situation, whereas forecasts for hot, dry mid-June weather probably weighed upon the new crop contracts. July soybean futures fell 5.25 cents to $15.2675/bushel around midsession Thursday, while July soyoil skidded 0.03 cents to 48.27 cents/pound, and July soybean meal dropped $2.2 to $453.7/ton.

The weekly Export Sales report seemed supportive of new crop wheat futures since the result, at 664,900 tonnes, topped forecasts in the 400,000-600,000 tonne range. Having a respected industry firm lower its estimate of the current U.S. winter wheat crop probably supported the nearby contracts. On the other hand, forecasts for dryer Great Plains weather in mid-June seemed to reverse the early gains. July CBOT wheat futures edged 0.75 cent lower to $7.075/bushel just before lunchtime Thursday, and July KCBT wheat lost 0.75 cents to $7.4275, whereas July MGE futures climbed 4.5 cents to $8.205.

Demand concerns about the cattle/beef outlook apparently depressed cattle futures again Wednesday. However, the fact that the nearby contracts are trading at modest discounts to cash values, which themselves have actually proven quite stable over the past two weeks, may be affecting the market today. That is, if producers are able to avoid a significant country market decline again this week, traders seem likely to become less pessimistic about summer-fall price prospects. June cattle edged up 0.17 cents to 120.42 cents/pound Thursday morning, while December gained 0.22 to 124.87. August feeder futures sank 0.17 cents to 144.42 cents/pound in response to deferred corn strength, while November slid 0.32 cents to 149.67.

Hog traders are becoming increasingly confident about the early-summer outlook; that was readily apparent after the summer contracts led futures significantly higher Thursday morning. Cash price indications actually pointed to significant losses in the western Corn Belt this morning, but bulls were seemingly counting upon continued wholesale gains. The midday pork report fell sharply, so futures could set back this afternoon. June hog futures jumped 0.87 cents to 97.52 cents/pound just before the lunch hour Thursday, while December climbed 0.72 cents to 81.20.



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