Oil Futures Rally on Thursday

U.S. lean-hog futures ended mixed on Thursday, as rising pork prices were offset by expectations that supplies will expand in the weeks ahead. The October contract, which expires today, was down 25, at 82.30, December contract, which is the most actively traded contract, fell 60 to 77.47.

U.S. cattle futures ended mostly lower Thursday as a surge in corn prices dragged feeder cattle prices down 2%. October live cattle declined 32 to $124, while December live cattle, the most-active contract, fell 65 to $125.

At the livestock auctions held Wednesday in North Wilkesboro and Norwood, a total of 1,095 cattle and 17 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mostly steady to 11.00 lower; bulls were mixed.

Corn and soybean prices rallied Thursday after the U.S. government projected tighter supplies than analysts had expected for the two commodities. In its monthly crop report Thursday, the USDA estimated that farmers will harvest 2.86 billion bushels of soybeans this fall, up 9% from its estimate last month. The soybean crop would still be the nation's smallest in five years. The USDA trimmed its forecasts for wheat production in Australia, Russia and the European Union. Still, wheat futures rose, thanks to higher corn prices.

December corn gained 36 1/2 to $7.73, December wheat in Chicago rose 16 1/4 to $8.86, KCBT December wheat rose 20 1/2 to $9.18, and November soybeans rose 25 1/4 to $15.48.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 36 to 37 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.63-$7.87 at feed mills and $7.35-$7.98 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans were 25 to 30 cents higher and were $15.78 at processors, and $14.99-$15.19 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was not quoted. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $532.40 per ton for 48% protein.

USDA's estimates for global cotton production and weaker demand for the fiber weighed heavily on cotton prices, sending December-delivery cotton to its lowest settlement since Sept 28. Cotton for December delivery lost 13 to end at 70.71, and the March contract fell 16 to 71.40.

Gold futures edged higher Thursday on hopes that Spain will request a bailout, though gains were muted by a decline in weekly U.S. unemployment data. December gold rose $5.50 to $1,770.60.

Oil futures rallied Thursday in volatile trading, as rising tensions between Turkey and Syria raised fears over supply disruptions. November crude gained 82 cents to $92.07 a barrel, November gasoline fell a fraction to $2.95 a gallon, and November distillates gained 4.4 cents to $3.25 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures prices settled higher Thursday at a fresh 2012 high above $3.60, after U.S. data showed gas storage levels rose by less than expected last week. November nat gas settled 12.9c higher at $3.60.

On Wall Street, stocks ended flat on Thursday after gains brought by a sign of improvement in the labor market were erased in part by a drop in Apple shares after a legal setback in a court ruling. The Dow fell 18 to 13,326, the Nasdaq closed at 3,049, down 2 and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,432.

SFNToday.com is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. SFNToday.com presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.