Ag markets ended the week on a generally strong note

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Export news supported corn futures Friday. Many Asian traders began celebrating the Lunar New Year today, thereby limiting activity. Still, U.S. traders were encouraged by news of another sizeable corn sale to Spain. The market also seems to be bouncing from major moving average support. March corn ended the week 0.5-cent higher at $4.34/bushel Friday, while May settled unchanged at $4.395.

The soy complex made a late-week comeback. Traders in the soy markets expect the accelerating South American harvest to depress CBOT prices during the coming weeks, since U.S. beans have dominated the export markets since last fall. However, the fact that vigorous global demand has greatly reduced domestic supplies apparently provided strong support Friday. March soybeans marched up 7.75 cents to $12.8275/bushel in late Friday trading, while March soyoil jumped 0.57 cents to 37.64 cents/pound, and March soymeal moved up $0.9 to $426.1/ton.

The wheat markets sustained their bounce from Wednesday’s lows. Diminished weather threats to current world crops seemed to trigger Wednesday’s wheat drop to multi-year lows. Prices recovered Thursday and Friday, with sources citing short-covering, but futures remained below former resistance. Huge global supplies seem likely to limit the markets’ upside potential in the short term. March CBOT wheat futures closed 2.25 cents higher at $5.5575/bushel Friday afternoon, while March KCBT wheat futures gained 4.75 cents to $6.155, and March MWE futures climbed 6.75 to $6.04.

Cattle futures ended the week on a mixed note. Hopes for cash firmness may have supported cattle futures somewhat Friday, despite big midsession wholesale losses. News of a California plant closure probably weighed on the market as well. However, the market could open firmly Monday, since most numbers on the late-afternoon Cattle inventory report from the USDA fell short of forecasts. February cattle futures sank 0.47 cents to 141.67 cents/pound as CME trading ended Friday, while April slumped 0.10 to 140.42. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle bounced 0.72 cents to 169.47 cents/pound, and May surged 0.65 to 170.20.

A Tyson statement boosted deferred hog futures at Friday’s close. The expiring February hog contract slipped again Friday; it’s handicapped by its premium to spot quotes. However, Tyson officials suggested spring-summer hog supplies could fall 2%-4% this year due to the spread of PEDV disease and resulting piglet deaths. Deferred futures rallied sharply in response. February hogs skidded 0.15 cents to 86.22 cents/pound in late Friday trading, whereas June leapt 1.47 to 104.82.

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