Ag markets began Friday in mixed fashion

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Potential planting delays may be supporting corn futures. The soy and wheat complexes dipped Thursday night, but the corn market posted modest gains. There was little news, so the rise may simply reflect ideas that persistently chilly, damp weather will delay Corn Belt plantings. May corn rose 1.0 cent to $5.0225/bushel Thursday night, while December dipped 0.5 to $5.045.

Talk of late Chinese cancellations is weighing upon soybeans. The markets were hit Thursday by news that Chinese buyers had recently cancelled 500,000 tonnes of U.S. and Brazilian purchases. The implied reduction in Chinese demand rather clearly remained a drag on soy quotes overnight. May soybeans fell 7.5 cents to $14.7475/bushel early Friday morning, while May soyoil slumped 0.34 cents to 42.16 cents/pound, but May soymeal steadied at $479.5/ton.

Weather forecasts may be affecting the wheat markets. Although no one is calling for substantial rains over the southern Plains, a modest improvement in the moisture outlooks seems to be weighing on the winter wheat markets this morning. Conversely, the Minneapolis rose in concert with corn futures, thereby seeming to reflect concerns about planting delays. May CBOT wheat futures skidded 0.5 cent to $6.615/bushel around sunrise Friday, and May KCBT wheat futures slid 0.75 cent to $7.2175, while May MWE futures added 2.5 cents to $7.035.

Nearby cattle futures firmed again Thursday night. Ongoing wholesale losses have seemingly presaged a drop in cash cattle prices this week, which has sustained downward pressure upon CME futures. However, Chicago prices rose slightly last night, which probably reflects the sizeable discounts already built into those quotes. June cattle futures crept up 0.20 cents to 135.40 cents/pound in early Friday action, while December lifted 0.05 to 140.45. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle tumbled 0.22 cents to 179.45 cents/pound, and August lost 0.42 to 181.50.

Hog futures have continued sliding. Cash hog and pork quotes showed a few signs of firming during Thursday’s CME session, which seemingly limited futures losses. However, the late afternoon reports were almost unanimously bearish, thereby triggering fresh overnight losses. June hog futures dove 0.87 cents to 120.27 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, and December sank 0.50 to 88.15.

Cotton futures exhibited surprising strength overnight. Thursday’s weak old-crop result on the weekly Export Sales report caused nearby cotton futures to violate major technical support. However, futures bounced modestly last night. That may reflect minimally helpful U.S. weather forecasts for the southern Plains. However, the technical situation isn’t very promising at this point. May cotton rallied 0.33 cents to 89.35 cents/pound just after sunrise (EDT) Friday, while December cotton inched up 0.11 to 80.95.

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