Ag markets ended the week in decidedly mixed fashion
Long-liquidation reversed early-Friday corn gains. The Black Sea situation, sustained export strength and U.S. dollar weakness boosted the grain and soy markets Thursday night. However, the greenback bounced in response to the monthly U.S. Employment report and appeared to trigger active profit-taking by bulls ahead of the weekend and Monday’s WASDE report. The week-ending breakdown was not encouraging. May corn settled 2.0 cents lower at $4.89/bushel Friday afternoon, while December lost 4.5 to $4.8475.
The soy complex bounced from midmorning lows. The export, geopolitical and currency issues that powered grain prices higher overnight did so for soybean and product prices as well. The complex also suffered a sharp midmorning reversal on pre-weekend and pre-report long-liquidation. However, beans and meal rebounded again by late morning, whereas the oil market proved unable to get off the floor. The strong end to the week’s trading was impressive. May soybeans surged 19.75 cents to $14.5775/bushel at their Friday settlement, while May soyoil slid 0.17 cents to 44.32 cents/pound, and May soymeal advanced $6.9 to $457.8/ton.
The wheat markets also rebounded from early Friday lows. Events on the Black Sea are rather obviously causing concerns about the availability of grain supplies from that region. Less than ideal conditions in several regions, particularly the U.S. southern Plains, probably spurred early buying as well. The wheat markets also suffered a midmorning bout of aggressive profit-taking, but rebounded from those lows and closed strongly. May CBOT wheat futures bounced 8.0 cents to $6.54/bushel in late Friday action, while May KCBT wheat futures vaulted 8.0 cents to $7.2125, and May MWE futures ran up 9.75 at $7.05.
Talk of persistent wholesale strength boosted cattle futures. News that cash prices had suffered a significant decline despite concurrent wholesale gains depressed cattle futures around midweek. However, belated talk of persistent beef gains reportedly enabled CME prices to rebound from Thursday night lows. April cattle futures moved up 0.10 cents to 143.23 cents/pound as CME trading ended Friday, while August rallied 0.70 cents to 133.85. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle climbed 0.85 cents to 173.65 cents/pound, and August gained 0.65 to 176.07.
Hog futures remained quite strong into the weekend. Talk of sharply reduced hog slaughter this week and in the coming weeks greatly encouraged bullish hog traders this week. CME futures reacted well to the latest news Thursday night, but struggled to maintain their upward momentum into the close. April hogs advanced 0.60 cents to 113.00 cents/pound at Friday’s close, while June added 1.15 to 120.50.
Cotton futures turned downward from Thursday night highs. Thursday’s Export Sales report seemingly set the stage for the subsequent technical breakout to fresh nine-month highs. The market built upon those gains early Friday morning, but couldn’t sustain the advance. Profit-taking and position-squaring ahead of the weekend and Monday’s monthly WASDE report seemed to trigger the midsession reversal. May cotton ended the week having dipped 0.34 cents to 91.27 cents/pound Friday, while December cotton tumbled 0.23 cents to 79.32.
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