Ag markets were generally flat Thursday morning

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The looming release of significant reports apparently limited futures price movements Wednesday night. The weekly USDA Export Sales reports will come out later this morning and will be followed tomorrow morning by the USDA WASDE and Crop Production reports. Meanwhile, corn trading will probably be dominated by weather conditions, planting progress and the tight old crop situation. Prices were mixed to weak overnight. July corn inched 0.5 cent lower to $6.325/bushel early Thursday morning, while December slipped 1.0 cent to $5.31.

The difficult old crop situation continues to support nearby soybean futures, with new crop values also gathering support from spring crop developments. That is, with it now looking as if farmers will be able to plant corn on a relatively timely basis, that implies limited switching to soybeans. Conversely, the probable lateness of the winter wheat crop could limit second-crop soybean planting. Thus, the soy complex rose modestly in early Thursday morning trading. July soybean futures rose 2.75 cents to $13.935/bushel overnight, while July soyoil added 0.06 cents to 48.88 cents/pound, and July soybean meal climbed $0.8 to $408.4/ton.

Wheat futures were also mixed Thursday morning. Chicago prices seemed to suffer from ideas that recent rains and growing heat will boost the soft winter wheat crop, whereas the KC market apparently reflected persistent concerns about the drought and frost damage inflicted upon Southern Plains wheat in recent weeks. The Minneapolis market was directionless. July CBOT wheat futures slipped 0.5 cents to $7.055/bushel early Thursday morning, while July KCBT wheat rose 1.5 cents to $7.6175, and July MGE futures were unchanged at $8.1625.

News of modest cash sales at prices 1-2 cents below the consensus prices reached last week undercut cattle futures Wednesday. The discounts built into nearby futures indicate the industry expects much more of the same during the days and weeks ahead. However, after setting record highs late last week, choice beef cutout rocketed to a fresh peak Wednesday afternoon, thereby suggesting the short-term outlook may be stronger than previously thought. That probably explains the modest gains posted Wednesday night. June cattle inched 0.02 cents higher to 120.22 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while December added 0.15 cents to 124.87. August feeder cattle futures advanced 0.37 cents to 145.70 cents/pound, while November skidded 0.32 cents to 149.77.

Optimism about the short-term situation boosted CME hog futures Wednesday, but futures were mixed to lower in early Thursday morning activity. Ongoing cash gains supported spring and summer futures earlier in the week (and the expiring May contract overnight). However, pork cutout declined modestly Wednesday afternoon, which robbed bulls of upward momentum. June hog futures declined 0.10 cents to 91.67 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while December futures were unchanged at 78.15.

After reached a one-month high Wednesday afternoon, cotton futures dipped overnight. The market is almost surely being supported by bullish expectations for the weekly Export Sales report due out later this morning and for the monthly WASDE report to be published Friday. On the other hand, the bearish impact of Indian government efforts to sell cotton out of their huge domestic stocks appeared to weigh upon the market early this morning. July cotton dipped 0.47 cents at 87.21 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while December slid 0.54 cents to 86.23.



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