The corn market sustained recent gains Thursday trading. Talk of damage to the winter wheat crop, reduced 2015 plantings, ethanol strength and robust demand is being credited for the ongoing corn advance. Technical buying may have exaggerated today’s rise. Still, having yellow grain prices remain firm in the face of the soy setback from early highs was impressive. December corn futures climbed 8.5 cents to $3.8625/bushel Thursday, while May added 8.25 to $4.0725.
The soy complex apparently lost its upward momentum. After proving stunningly strong over the past six weeks, soybean and product prices suffered a nasty setback Wednesday. Bulls tried to reignite the rally today, but prices again set back from early highs. That may bode rather ill for the short-term outlook. January soybean futures closed 5.75 cents higher at $10.535/bushel Thursday, but December soyoil sagged 0.15 cents to 32.07 cents/pound, and December meal lost $1.5 to $393.5/ton.
The wheat markets led crop prices higher. Wheat traders apparently worry that the current cold spell will seriously diminish U.S. winter wheat crop next year, which has provided consistent support lately. The fact that the CBOT market led the way higher seemingly confirmed industry worries about SRW wheat. December CBOT wheat surged 11.0 cents to $5.5375/bushel at Thursday’s close, while December KC wheat rallied 6.0 cents to $6.0525/bushel, and December MWE wheat gained 3.0 at $5.8425.
Cattle futures proved quite strong Thursday. Supportive fundamental and seasonal factors still seem to favor the bullish cause in the cattle and beef markets. Moreover, the situation might become extraordinarily tight if the current cold snap is a harbinger of a cold, snowy winter over the central and southern Plains. Prices could spike in such circumstances, which may partially explain today’s advance. December live cattle futures soared 2.17 cents at 169.92 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while April futures leapt 1.07 to 169.30. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle futures jumped 0.85 cents to 234.22 cents/pound, and March feeders vaulted 1.02 to 232.82.
Talk of frigid weather may have boosted CME hogs as well. Although today’s spot quotes were generally steady to weak, hog futures rallied in concert with the cattle complex. Traders reportedly think frigid temperatures could also cut hog performance and short-term supplies. December hog futures climbed 0.60 cents to 91.27 cents/pound at Thursday’s CME settlement, while April hogs ran up 1.15 to 92.85.
Cotton succumbed to selling pressure. Concerns about the demand outlook seem to be limiting cotton rallies, especially with the global economic situation seeming less than supportive. The loss of bullish soy momentum may also have spilled over into the ICE market, thereby rendering cotton vulnerable to a drop below the pivotal 60-cent level. December cotton futures plunged 2.10 cents to 59.73 cents/pound as ICE trading ended Thursday, while March futures dove 1.59 cents to 58.75.