Cotton surged to its highest level in eight weeks on Wednesday in U.S. trading as investors looked ahead to the Department of Agriculture's weekly export sales report.

May-dated cotton futures rallied to 49.39 cents per pound, up 1.48 cents on the session. Prices earlier reached as high as 49.44.

USDA weekly export sales data will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. Economists are expecting cotton sales of 200-300 million bales,compared to last week's figure of 432,400 million bales.

In other agriculture trading, soybeans rallied 16.4 cents to $10.06, corn added 0.6 cent to $3.97 a bushel and wheat fell 7.6 cents to $5.32 a bushel.

Wednesday afternoon, traders looked for the release of the minutes of the March Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which said that committee members remain concerned about downside risks to an already weak outlook for economic activity.

The minutes showed that nearly all of the meeting participants felt that economic conditions had deteriorated relative to their expectations at the time of the January meeting.

Earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association revealed that its market index of mortgage application volume rose 4.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week of April 3rd, following a 3 percent rise last week. The Market Composite Index was 1250.6 compared to 1194.4 in the previous week.

Later, a Commerce Department report showed that wholesale inventories fell 1.5 percent in February following a revised decrease of 0.9 percent in January. Economists had expected inventories to fall by 0.6 percent compared to the 0.7 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

In other commodity trading, crude oil ended at $49.40 per barrel, up 25 cents. Prices had dropped as low as $47.37 but later turned as high as $51.30 on the Energy Information Administration inventory data.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased 1.7 million barrels from the previous week. Economists were looking for a build in inventories of about 2.3 million barrels in the week ended April 3.

At 361.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

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