Lean hog futures were mostly higher on Thursday. April futures expired at noon today and June through August contracts were all up over $1. Strength in pork prices and firm cash markets were supportive factors. Pork cutouts were up 28 cents on Wednesday and are nearing the record high level set last August due to improving seasonal domestic demand and strong exports. June closed $1.18 higher at $102.63 and July was $1.10 higher at $102.13.
Corn futures closed mixed on Thursday. The nearby May contract was slightly lower, but deferreds were pulled higher by new-crop. Forecasts for cool and wet weather in the Midwest through next week are raising concern about planting delays. Old-crop contracts were lower much of the day on profit-taking and fund selling. Strong weekly export sales helped limit losses in old-crop before new-crop months pulled prices higher. May closed 1 1/4 cents lower at $7.54 1/4 while December was 10 1/2 cents higher at $6.55 1/2.
Soybean futures settled lower on Thursday, but losses were trimmed into the close. The market was pressured by disappointing weekly export sales and concern that China could cancel more export sales. But losses were limited by the strength in new-crop corn futures. In addition, NOPA crush for March was reported at 134.4 million bushels, slightly above trade expectations for 133.2 million bushels. May closed 2 1/2 cents lower at $13.31 and November was 6 1/4 cents lower at $13.45 1/4.