Ag markets diverged widely Friday morning

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Talk of strong demand limited seasonal pressure on corn futures Friday morning. Seasonal pressure from the record U.S. harvest and technical resistance kept corn futures underwater this morning. However, talk of vigorous demand and strength spilling over from the soy and wheat markets apparently limited the losses. December corn futures slipped 0.75 cent to $4.2225/bushel by late Friday morning, while May slid 1.25 to $4.3625.

Soybeans and meal proved quite strong in early trading. Chinese officials revised their estimates of November soybean imports upward by about 200,000 tonnes early this morning. That news seemingly reemphasized the sheer size of previously established U.S. export commitments and seemingly powered early CBOT soybean and meal gains. In contrast, slumping palm prices dragged soyoil futures lower. January soybean futures jumped 20.25 cents to $13.1175/bushel around midsession Friday, while December soyoil declined 0.24 cents to 41.30 cents/pound, and December soymeal surged $11.4 to $422.4/ton.

Talk of export demand and Australian problems boosted the wheat markets. Western Australian wheat fields are being blessed with excessive rainfall, whereas fields on its east coast have reportedly suffered significant frost damage lately. Meanwhile, recent reports have rebooted optimism about export demand for U.S. grain. December CBOT wheat futures gained 2.75 cents to $6.515/bushel in Friday morning action, while December KCBT wheat futures climbed 4.5 cents to $6.9925, and December MWE futures edged up 1.25 to $6.975.

Wholesale weakness is seemingly offsetting stable cash cattle quotes. Country cattle prices dipped Thursday, but the size of the decline was smaller than many anticipated. However, beef cutout values fell rather substantially in late-afternoon action. That development is apparently weighing upon CME futures ahead of the afternoon Cattle on Feed report. December cattle futures dropped 0.32 cents to 131.12 just before lunchtime Friday, while April futures sank 0.45 cents to 132.62. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle inched down 0.10 cents to 163.27 cents/pound, and March feeders skidded 0.05 cents to 163.22.

Diving cash prices are probably undercutting hog futures. Although wholesale quotes proved surprisingly firm Thursday afternoon, that good news was apparently more than offset by sizeable losses in the country cash markets. The fact that the current decline has persisted is very likely worrying bulls. December hog futures fell 0.60 cents to 85.65 cents/pound in late Friday morning trading, while April sagged 0.35 cents to 92.90.

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