Ag markets ended Friday mixed to higher

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Short covering seemed to support the crop markets before the weekend. After having tumbled to three-month lows after Wednesday’s WASDE report, corn futures firmed Thursday. Priced followed through on those gains today as traders seemed to be covering shorts and/or bottom picking before the weekend. July corn rallied 3.0 cents to $4.47/bushel Friday afternoon, while December gained 3.75 cents to $4.475.

Surging oil prices boosted beans and depressed meal Friday. As with the grain markets, little fundamental bean news emerged today, so traders apparently took profits on recently established short positions before the weekend. They probably don’t want to risk being exposed through next Monday’s NOPA crush report either. Asian palm gains boosted oil in early trading, then technical buyers took over. That supported beans, but meal suffered from its position on the wrong side of the crush spread. July soybeans bounced 10.5 cents to $14.2575/bushel at its Friday settlement, while July soyoil soared 1.11 cents to 39.69 cents/pound, while July soymeal slid $1.3 to $467.9/ton.

The wheat markets also ended the week on a mixed note. Big wheat importer Egypt announced purchases of Romanian and Russian wheat this morning, which suggests U.S. wheat remains uncompetitive on the global market. That probably limited bullish technical buying. Favorable conditions in the eastern Corn Belt may also have weighed on CBOT prices. July CBOT wheat futures closed up 0.75 cent to $5.86/bushel Friday close, while July KCBT wheat surged 7.75 cents to $7.1325 and July MWE futures added 2.25 to $6.8425.

Cattle futures built upon Thursday’s big advance. News of a surprising increase in cash cattle prices triggered a major rise in CME cattle futures yesterday. Although short-term beef prospects look rather weak, futures resumed their surge Friday. August cattle jumped 1.57 cents to 146.62 cents/pound in late Friday action, while December vaulted 1.10 cents to 151.75. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle spiked 2.30 cents to 208.15 and October leapt 2.12 to 208.80.

Midday cash and wholesale weakness undercut hog bulls. The CME swine market followed cattle higher Thursday and again this morning. However, today’s midsession reports proved surprisingly weak, thereby undercutting what had been an across-the-board advance. August hog futures rallied 0.47 cents 131.27 at their Friday close, while December sank 0.22 cents to 98.42.

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