Grain and soy markets rose in response to the Friday USDA data
After dropping substantially around mid-week, the cash hog and wholesale pork markets proved quite mixed Thursday and Friday. For example, while cash prices fell 1-2 cents/pound on the last day of the week, pork cutout actually rose modestly. The short-term outlook could prove quite interesting, since the nearby February hogs held above their December lows, whereas the deferred contracts fell to lows not seen since October or earlier. That suggests the outlook for spring and beyond seems much less promising than it did during late fall and early winter. February hogs settled 0.23 cents lower at 84.20 last Friday afternoon, while June futures slipped 0.10 cents to 96.50.
Cotton futures reacted wildly to the USDA data Friday, since the numbers indicated sharp divergences in the U.S. and global cotton situations. That is, the Agriculture Department raised its estimate of 2012-13 U.S. cotton exports significantly and cut its forecasts for domestic production and ending stocks. Those numbers are clearly supportive of American prices and probably played a major role in carrying nearby futures higher Friday afternoon. However, USDA analysts also boosted their estimate of 2012-13 global carryout by over 2.0 million bales, which obviously holds negative implications for the world situation and for international prices. That probably explains the moderate losses suffered by cotton futures in Sunday night-Monday morning trading. March cotton slipped 0.18 cents to 75.42 cents/pound in early-morning activity, while December moved 0.39 cents lower at 78.65.