Ag markets finished the week on a generally strong note

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News of fresh export sales barely budged corn futures Friday. The USDA announced the sale of 141,200 tonnes of corn to unknown destinations this morning, but CBOT prices hardly moved. That probably reflects industry position-squaring ahead of next Monday’s USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports. March corn edged up 1.25 cents to $4.4425/bushel late Friday afternoon, while May gained 1.5 to $4.50.

Financial market action may have supported soybeans. Friday morning talk of improving Brazilian rainfall and domestic cash weakness seemed likely to sink the soy complex, but beans proved surprisingly firm. Traders may have been adjusting positions ahead of next Monday’s USDA reports, but they may also reacted to today’s stock market strength in the wake of the disappointing Employment report. Dollar weakness was also supportive. March soybeans advanced 5.75 cents to $13.315/bushel at their Friday close, while March soyoil dipped 0.10 cents to 38.56 cents/pound, and March soymeal inched up $0.4 to $446.4/ton.

Wheat ended the week mixed to lower. News of substantially reduced winter wheat condition rating on monthly reports sparked this week’s wheat advance. Futures dipped Thursday and proved unable to sustain a recovery Friday. This may represent position-squaring ahead of Monday’s USDA data. March CBOT wheat futures fell 3.25 cents to $5.775/bushel in late Friday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures moved up 0.5 cent to $6.4925, and March MWE futures gained 1.0 to $6.3925.

Bullish expectations apparently boosted cattle futures Friday. Nebraska cattle traded lightly at sharply lower prices Thursday afternoon, which seemingly reflected bearish short-term expectations. Indeed, midday Friday trade matched the Thursday quotes. Nevertheless, CME prices turned sharply higher late Friday morning, which apparently resulted from widespread short-covering. Traders seemingly expect a bullish cash reversal in mid-to-late February. April cattle futures jumped 1.32 cents to 140.40 cents/pound at Friday’s settlement, while August leapt 0.85 cents to 130.57. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle surged 0.80 cents to 167.80 cents/pound, and May ran up 0.62 to 169.20.

Hog futures may have benefited from spillover strength. Cash hog and wholesale pork prices proved mixed Thursday afternoon, thereby limiting overnight strength. However, hog futures turned decidedly higher Friday. That may have reflected concurrent equity market strength (and optimistic implications about the economic outlook) as well as the late-morning cattle surge. Bulls may also been hearing reports of cash/pork strength from those markets. April hogs climbed 0.52 cents to 94.72 cents/pound Friday, while June increased 0.30 to 105.35.

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