Ag markets generally went their separate ways Friday

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Events worked against bullish corn traders Friday morning. Corn futures reacted quite modestly to early morning news that China had bought 960,000 tonnes of new crop corn to China lately. That may have reflected prior rumors to that effect and/or concurrent U.S. dollar strength. Bulls may also have been handicapped by the latest weather forecasts for the U.S. Corn Belt, which seem less ominous than those seen earlier in the week. September corn futures fell 9.0 cents to $5.5175/bushel around midsession Friday, while December dropped 12.5 cents to $5.145.

The soy complex accompanied corn prices lower Friday. Forecasts for somewhat better weather over the Corn Belt later this month apparently undercut the new crop corn and soy contracts Friday morning, while the expiring July bean and meal contracts were going off with a bang. Oil futures continue suffering from Asian palm oil weakness and its position on the wrong side of domestic crush decisions. August soybean futures dove 20.75 cents to $14.5125/bushel just before lunchtime Friday, while August soybean oil sank 0.36 cents to 46.17 cents/pound and August soymeal tumbled $6.4 to $451.6/ton.

The wheat outlook seems relatively promising at this juncture. Wheat futures surged early this week in response to active buying from Chinese officials. Indeed, given preceding stories about large Chinese grain losses to excessive rains, that buying seems likely to persist. When viewed within the context of the supportive data on the Thursday morning USDA WASDE report, it was not terribly surprising to see wheat futures rallying again Friday morning. September CBOT wheat climbed 2.75 cents to $6.8575/bushel by late Friday morning, while September KCBT wheat gained 5.0 cents to $7.135 and September MGE futures advanced 3.75 cents to $7.71.

Short-term pessimism is seemingly weighing upon cattle futures. Cattle traders anticipating a seasonal second-half rally have built significant premiums into 2013 CME futures. However, recent wholesale weakness and growing pessimism about the likely outcome of cash trading this week are apparently dragging prices downward at this point. August cattle skidded 0.07 cents to 121.85 cents/pound as traders started thinking about lunch Friday; December declined 0.10 cents to 128.35. August feeder futures bounced 0.15 cents to 150.27 cents/pound as corn futures reversed, while November surged 0.42 cents to 155.80.

Hog futures were weak again in early Friday trading. Ongoing wholesale losses are probably the main reason for the sustained weakness weighing upon Chicago prices at this point, since the decline very likely presages similar losses in cash values during the second half of the year. Discounted CME contracts look much less promising in that context. August hog futures stumbled 0.62 cents to 94.65 cents/pound around midsession Friday, while December sagged 0.37 cents to 81.07.

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