Ag markets were quite mixed Thursday

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Corn futures dipped on improved weather forecasts Thursday. After turning downward in response to cooler, wetter Corn Belt forecasts Wednesday, the yellow grain market continued sliding today. The losses were apparently mitigated by the weekly Export Sales report, which stated the latest new crop figure, at 1.59 million tonnes, above the highest industry forecast. Nearby futures found late support, possibly from the old crop situation. September corn futures closed up 2.5 cents at $5.41/bushel Thursday afternoon, while December sank 1.25 cents to $5.0075.

Favorable weather forecasts also weighed upon the soy complex Thursday. Stable cash bids apparently robbed the old crop contracts of upward momentum, while the weather rather clearly depressed the deferred contracts. Ultimately, the midday weather forecasts seemed even more conducive to large Corn Belt crops than those posted earlier in the day, so traders were quick to adjust their positions. August soybean futures dropped 8.25 cents to $14.6925/bushel at their Thursday settlement, while August soyoil sagged 0.27 cents to 45.52 cents/pound, but August soymeal gained $1.3 to $470.4/ton.

Wheat futures turned lower Thursday afternoon. Traders remained optimistic about export prospects, but the disappointing result on the weekly USDA Export Sales report seemed to presage renewed talk of diminished international interest due to elevated U.S. prices. Favorable Midwest and Plains forecasts probably discouraged bulls as well. September CBOT wheat declined 4.5 cents to $6.605/bushel as trading wound down Thursday, while September KCBT wheat slid 0.5 cent to $7.0225 and September MGE futures lost 5.0 cents to $7.5025.

Cattle futures rallied strongly Thursday. There was no particularly bullish news concerning the cattle market, so wire service reports were reduced to citing fund buying and short covering for the rise. Bulls could certainly cite climbing equity indexes and their surge to fresh records as well, since those usually imply strong consumer buying. August cattle surged 0.80 cents to 122.10 cents/pound at the end of the pit session Thursday, while December lurched 0.95 cents higher to 128.87. August feeder futures leapt 1.10 cents to 152.07 cents/pound, while November advanced 0.75 cents to 157.90.

The hog market tried to follow cattle higher Thursday. After firming in overnight trading, the nearby contracts sustained the rise, whereas deferred futures sank. The fact that cash markets proved surprisingly firm Wednesday probably contributed to the rise, as did the premium now being carried by the CME cash index. Concurrent cattle gains very likely boosted swine values as well. August hog futures rallied 0.82 cents to 96.62 cents/pound in late-morning action, while December edged up 0.12 cents to 82.55.



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