Ag markets are diverging to begin Friday's trading

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Sliding soybeans seems to be depressing corn in early Friday action. An early-morning Chinese report had mixed effects upon US corn prices, since it indicated its February imports of US corn had fallen almost 50% from last year. But it also indicated China’s February ddg imports had jumped 350% from 2013. Ultimately, the surprising overnight soybean dive appears to be dragging corn lower as well. May corn slid 1.0 cent to $4.775/bushel Thursday night, while December slipped 0.5 to $4.8025.

The soy complex may be suffering from Chinese news. An overnight report predicting China’s 2013/14 imports of U.S. beans will set a record around 66-67 million tonnes (up 13% annually) may have disappointed traders, since the most recent USDA report forecast a figure around 69 million. The fact that nearby futures failed at recent highs yesterday may be exaggerating the decline. May soybeans fell 16.25 cents to $14.175/bushel early Friday morning, while May soyoil dropped 0.39 cents to 40.92 cents/pound, and May soymeal lost $4.2 at $462.3/ton.

Talk of early-April rains may be weighing on the wheat markets. Although the global supply/demand situation has played a supportive role during the recent wheat rally, much of the rise can be credited to persistent dryness across the Great Plains. Thus, the market was probably vulnerable to overnight forecasts suggesting that region will be blessed with significant rainfall early next month. May CBOT wheat futures dipped 4.0 cents to $6.9975/bushel in predawn Friday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures skidded 4.0 cents to $7.78 and May MWE futures slumped 4.5 to $7.5075.

News of light Nebraska trading may be supporting cattle futures. Wholesale beef prices tumbled Thursday afternoon, which seemed likely to weigh upon cattle futures today. However, the USDA also reported light Nebraska cattle trading at $150/cwt yesterday, which is very likely encouraging traders this morning. April cattle futures rose 0.15 cents to 144.57 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, while August moved up 0.25 cents to 134.00. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle rallied 0.10 cents to 174.75 cents/pound, and August advanced 0.30 to 177.92.

Surging cash and pork values are boosting hogs once again. The hog and pork complex continues exhibited astonishing strength, with country swine prices jumping again Thursday. Those were seconded by sizeable pork gains as well, with the net result being strong overnight CME gains as well. April hogs leapt 1.40 cents to 126.20 cents/pound in early Friday action, while June soared 1.80 to 132.60.

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