Ag markets mixed Friday morning

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Chinese news seemingly capped grain prices Thursday night. Chinese officials announced early this morning that they were leaving their 2014 grain and cotton import quotas unchanged from this year. Given ideas that they will be forced to boost imports in the new year, that news seemed to cap early-morning rally attempts. December corn slid 0.5 cent to $4.5625/bushel early Friday morning, and May lost 0.5 cent to $4.77.

Technical buying appears to be supporting soybeans. Although the onset of the U.S. harvest is weighing upon the soy complex at this time, prices rose modestly overnight. Talk that the Asian palm oil market ended the week on a strong note probably provided considerable support. However, a look at the November soybean chart shows its price has bouncing from major technical support all week; that was again the case last night. November soybeans rallied 4.25 cents to $13.21/bushel in early Friday trading, while October soyoil advanced 0.19 cents to 41.98 cents/pound, and October soymeal added $1.1 to $417.5/ton.

The Chinese news seemed to weigh upon wheat prices as well. The wheat markets have recently rallied in response to ideas that having much of its winter wheat crop ruined will force it to greatly expand its imports during the coming weeks and months. News that Chinese officials have left their official import quota unchanged may be weighing upon prices. On the other hand, the fact that futures didn’t react more significantly implies traders doubt they’ll follow through on that point. December CBOT wheat slipped 0.75 cents to $6.775/bushel around dawn Friday, while December KCBT wheat was unchanged at $7.2725, and December MGE futures skidded 0.25 cent to $7.2425.

Cattle futures proved surprisingly firm in early Friday trading. Beef cutout values declined slightly Thursday afternoon, which seemingly boded rather ill for today’s CME trading session. Bulls may simply be expecting steady-firm cash trading this afternoon. However, they may also be anticipating spillover strength from a bullish Hogs & Pigs report this later in the day. October cattle futures inched up 0.02 cents to 127.72 cents/pound early Friday morning, while December rose 0.07 cents to 131.65. Meanwhile, October feeder cattle sank 0.32 cents to 164.05 cents/pound, and January declined 0.45 cents to 166.60.

Look for directionless hog trading today. Although the nearby October hog future slipped somewhat overnight, the deferred contracts posted modest gains. Those reflected mixed cash and wholesale action Thursday afternoon. We don’t look for a big futures move today, since traders on both sides of the market are likely to be adjusting positions ahead of this afternoon’s (2:00 PM CDT) quarterly Hogs & Pigs report from the USDA. October hog futures dipped 0.12 cents to 92.67 cents/pound in early Friday action, while December bounced 0.22 cents to 87.95.

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