Corn futures are lower at midday. Strength in the dollar and weakness in the wheat market is pulling the corn market down. May futures are at a two week low. Rain is forecast across the Corn Belt through the weekend into early next week. Rain will slow planting, but also provide needed moisture for planting and early crop development. May corn is 10 1/2 cents lower at $6.27 and December is 10 3/4 cents lower at $5.36.
Soybean futures are trading lower at midsession. China announced overnight that its first quarter GPD expanded at 8.1%. While that sounds like strong growth, it is down from 8.9% in the previous quarter and it was lower than forecasts at 8.4%. China is the world’s largest soybean importer, and the GDP news raises question marks about the future pace of demand growth for soybeans. The news has rallied the dollar and led to general selling pressure against commodities today. The May contract is down 5 cents at $14.36 and November is down 8 3/4 cents at $13.64.
Wheat futures are trading lower at midday. Forecasts for rain in Europe will give some relief there, which has led to selling as traders back off of fears of dryness stress. Adding to the selling pressure are reports in the U.S. Midwest indicating that the recent drop in temperatures is not believed to have caused significant damage to the wheat crop. Outside markets are adding pressure as well. CBOT May is 19 1/4 cents lower at $6.20, KCBOT May is 15 cents lower at $6.38; and MGE May is 14 1/2 cents lower at $8.22.
Cattle futures are lower at midday. Cash cattle trade is mostly complete. A few sales were reported on Thursday at $123, up from $122 earlier in the week. However, after the recovery rally the previous couple days, futures are back on the defensive. Beef prices remain weak, which undermines trader’s confidence in demand. June cattle futures are 88 cents lower at $116.28 and August is $1.15 lower at $119.00.
Lean hog futures are sharply lower at midday. The increase in the pork cutout value that was reported on Wednesday was mostly wiped out by a decline on Thursday. Traders’ optimism that cash market fundamentals were finally turning around was dashed and a lot of folks are just exiting the market ahead of the weekend. Lower stock prices, a stronger dollar and falling corn prices all just add to the pressure on hog futures. The May contract is down $2.98 at $90.15. June is $2.80 lower, falling to $90.43