Corn futures closed slightly higher on Thursday. Futures were lower much of the morning on profit-taking and light outside market pressure. Weakness in crude oil and the stock market and strength in the dollar were bearish factors. But the market continues to be supported by ideas of declining crop production prospects due to dry weather in the central Corn Belt. Trade today was also limited ahead of a speech on Friday by Federal Chairman Bernanke. September ended 1/2 of a cent higher at $7.32 1/4 and December was 1/2 of a cent higher at $7.43 1/2.
Soybean futures were narrowly mixed on Thursday. Front end futures drifted slightly lower on light profit-taking and outside market pressure. Weakness in the stock market and crude oil and strength in the dollar were bearish for commodity markets. Deferred contracts were higher on declining crop prospects due to the dry weather in the central Midwest. Trade activity was limited ahead of the speech on Friday from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke. September closed 1/2 of a cent lower at $13.86 and November was 3/4 of a cent lower at $13.92 3/4.
Wheat futures traded higher on Thursday. Short-covering and technical buying supported the market. The KCBT led the gains with support from concern about dry conditions in the southern Plains that could limit HRW seeding this fall. But sluggish export demand remains a bearish concern. Weekly export sales reported this morning of 12.8 million bushels were below trade expectations. Egypt’s recent export purchase went to Russia and Romania. CBOT September was 8 cents higher at $7.57 1/4, KCBT September closed 12 3/4 cents higher at $8.47 3/4 and MGE September ended 8 3/4 cents higher at $9.34 3/4.
Cattle futures closed slightly higher on Thursday. The market was supported by strong weekly export sales of beef reported this morning and spillover support from lean hogs. The market was lower much of the day on concern that beef prices will decline as Labor Day orders are filled. Weakness in the stock market and strength in the dollar limited gains. October closed 18 cents higher at $114.10 and December was 30 cents higher at $116.45.
Lean hog futures were higher on Thursday. The October future’s discount to cash and short-covering from recent losses helped rally the market. However, cash fundamentals remain weak. Pork cutouts were down $1.53 on Wednesday. Cash bids are mostly steady to $1 lower today. October closed 18 cents higher at $87.23 and December was $1.00 higher at $84.45.