Ag markets are starting Friday in mixed-to-weak fashion

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Forecasts for reduced Corn Belt rainfall may be weighing on crop prices. Recent rainfall over the Midwest has proven to be too much of a good thing in some areas and tended to boost new-crop prices as a consequence. However, the latest models have implied less rainfall over wet areas of Iowa and Minnesota, which seemed to weigh upon corn futures. July corn dipped 2.25 cents to $4.405/bushel Thursday night, while December slipped 1.25 to $4.42.

Old-crop futures are holding up better than new crop in early Friday action. As in the corn pit, curtailed rainfall forecasts for wet areas of the Corn Belt seem to be weighing on new crop futures this morning. In contrast, traders are reportedly backing away from short positions in old crop futures ahead of Monday’s USDA Grain Stocks and Acreage reports. July soybeans rose 0.25 cents to $14.3725/bushel early Friday morning, while July soyoil slumped 0.14 cents to 40.37 cents/pound, and July soymeal rallied $1.2 to $466.7/ton.

The wheat markets proved relatively mixed Thursday night. Shifts in the weather forecasts probably affected wheat futures as well, but those traded in decidedly mixed fashion. One has to suspect short-term shifts were at least partially driven by industry position squaring ahead of Monday’s big USDA reports. July CBOT wheat futures sagged 3.5 cents to $5.7875/bushel shortly after sunrise Friday, while July KCBT wheat moved up 2.5 cents to $7.235, and July MWE futures declined 2.0 to $6.77.

Afternoon beef weakness undercut cattle futures overnight. Climbing wholesale prices have boosted cattle prices across the country and in Chicago lately. Cash strength seems likely again today, which probably explains the rise posted by the expiring June contract last night. However, beef prices turned downward yesterday afternoon, thereby undercutting deferred futures. August cattle sank 0.40 cents to 152.35 cents/pound in early Friday trading, while December tumbled 0.80 to 155.00. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle rose 0.12 cents to 215.25 cents/pound, but October feeders dropped 0.15 to 216.92.

Cash and pork quotes are also weighing on the hog market. Cash hog and wholesale pork values have soared lately, thereby powering substantial mid-June gains. However, the markets seemed to lose their upward momentum this week, as exemplified by Thursday’s sharp pork reversal from noon to late afternoon. That news, along with the looming release of the quarterly USDA Hogs & Pigs report (at 2:00 PM CDT today) appeared to depress CME prices. August hog futures inched 0.05 cents lower to 128.75 as Friday dawned over Chicago, while December slid 0.25 cents to 95.40.


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