Ag markets moved generally lower Friday

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The grain and soy complexes traded according to old and new crop conditions again Friday. Corn futures exemplified that phenomenon, with the nearby July contract rising on old-crop supply tightness, whereas forecasts for improving conditions depressed new crop values. July corn futures surged 11.5 cents to $6.55/bushel at the Friday close, while December fell 2.5 cents to $5.33.

Soybean futures acted similarly to their corn counterparts Friday, with old crop prices firming and the deferreds sliding. Talk of supply tightness in the western Corn Belt probably boosted the July contract, although the substantial gains posted by soyoil values probably provided spillover support. That likely reflected surging energy prices. Meal values apparently suffered from being on the wrong side of the crush spread. July soybean futures closed 6.25 cents higher at $15.165/bushel Friday afternoon, while July soyoil jumped 0.64 cents to 48.48 cents/pound, and July soybean meal slipped $1.9 to $450.7/ton.

Improved new crop prospects apparently depressed wheat futures as well Friday. Readers should recall that the wheat market has fully entered the new crop year, especially with winter wheat harvesting already having begun in parts of Texas. Thus, prices at the three U.S. wheat exchanges moved unanimously lower to end the week. July CBOT wheat futures declined 4.75 cents to $6.8075/bushel as pit trading ended for the week, while July KCBT wheat slid 7.25 cents to $7.115, and July MGE futures dropped 8.25 cents to $8.04.

Seasonal pressure continued weighing upon the cattle and beef complex Friday. Indeed, Thursday night losses kept the wholesale market sliding, which in turn reinforced ideas that the late-spring cash decline will persist into early summer. Wire service reports indicated that a few Southern Plains animals changed hands about $2 below last week, at $120/cwt (cents/pound) just before the CME close. Futures seem likely to struggle until traders see signs of cash strength. August cattle settled 0.75 cents to 118.32 cents/pound Friday, while December lost 0.85 cents to 124.57. August feeder cattle futures tumbled 2.07 cents to 143.40 cents/pound, and November dove 1.42 cents to 149.80.

The June hog contract expired on a very strong note at noon Friday. However, the persistent weakness suffered by the cattle and beef complex, as well as the historical tendency for hog and pork prices to turn downward from an annual peak in mid-to-late June apparently weighed upon the deferred contracts. The July hog future declined 0.62 cents to 98.02 cents/pound at its Friday settlement, whereas December actually closed 0.05 cents higher, at 81.65.

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