Ag markets ended the week on a decidedly mixed note

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Corn futures suffered amidst general commodity weakness Friday. Although the equity markets recovered somewhat from their Thursday breakdown, continued U.S. dollar strength held negative connotations for forthcoming demand. Generally favorable growing weather and easing old crop conditions also seemed to weigh upon prices. July corn ended the week having fallen 11.5 cents to $6.6175/bushel, while December lost 4.25 cents to $5.5625.

The soy complex also moved mostly lower to end the week. Although the tight old crop situation apparently boosted nearby soymeal futures and supported soybeans, the larger trend was downward. As in the corn pit, U.S. dollar strength and improved weather forecasts exerted pressure upon the crop markets. At the least, the drier conditions experienced this week suggest soybean plantings will be wrapped up in short order. July soybean futures slipped 2.0 cents to $14.9325/bushel at their Friday close, and July soyoil sank 0.35 cents to 48.02 cents/pound, whereas July soymeal rallied $2.1 to $448.1/ton.

Anecdotal reports seemingly supported wheat futures Friday. Traders were apparently hearing about disappointing winter wheat yields in both the Southern Plains and in southern Illinois. New crop conditions are not all that great either. They may also have been building upon talk that China will boost its buying of U.S. wheat after having bought French product earlier this week. However, the ongoing U.S. dollar rally probably pushed them downward along with most commodity markets. July CBOT wheat closed 3.5 cents lower at $6.98/bushel Friday afternoon, while July KCBT wheat dipped 0.5 cent to $7.365, and July MGE futures were steady at $8.14.

Cattle futures posted impressive gains Friday despite ostensibly bearish conditions. Traders seemed to think the cash cattle markets could be near a seasonal low. Actually, a significant portion of the CME bounce very likely stemmed from technical factors, which in turn might be a self-fulfilling prophecy if the futures advance caused cash prices to firm in late-week trading. The USDA Cattle on Feed report released after the close seemed somewhat bearish. August cattle jumped 1.60 cents to 121.60 cents/pound to end the trading week, while December climbed 1.17 cents to 127.10. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures leapt 2.50 cents to 146.92 cents/pound and November soared 1.85 to 152.00.

Chicago traders may now think the seasonal hog/pork rally has run its course. Despite a significant cash premium, a large gain on the midday wholesale report and the concurrent cattle rally, swine futures moved modestly lower Friday. The hog and complex has a history of reversing decisively after reaching a second-quarter high, so a cautious approach to CME futures probably seemed entirely warranted. July hog futures settled 0.50 cents lower at 99.75 cents/pound Friday afternoon, whereas concerns about the market impact of PEDV disease seemingly boosted December 0.05 cents to 82.30.  

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