Lean hog futures traded sharply higher on Thursday. Reports that Japan was still buying U.S. pork this week and easing concern about effects of the natural disasters in Japan helped push prices higher. Some strength in the cash market and talk of improved cash hog prices next week were also supportive. Pork prices were 47 cents higher at Wednesday. April was $2.85 higher at $88.15 and June closed $2.33 higher at $97.68.
Soybean futures traded strongly higher on Thursday. Prices are rebounding again today on outside market support and spillover from corn. The dollar index was strongly lower while crude oil futures and the stock market were solidly higher. Concerns about Japan are easing with some progress being made in preventing a meltdown at nuclear power plants. In Brazil, heavy rains have delayed harvest and caused flooding in some areas. May closed 48 1/4 cents higher at $13.35 1/4 and November was 51 1/2 cents higher at $13.02 1/4.
Corn futures closed locked limit up in nearly all 2011 and 2012 contracts on Thursday. Future trade was supported by technical buying from oversold conditions, weakness in the dollar, strong gains in crude oil and a bullish weekly export sales report. Fears about Japan's economy have eased and the Japanese yen is trading higher while the dollar index is down strongly. Export sales last week of 40.8 million bushels of old-crop and 11.8 of new-crop were above trade expectations. May was 30 cents higher at $6.46 1/2 and December ended 30 cents higher at $5.79 1/4.