Ag markets moved mostly higher Thursday night

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Corn futures rose slightly Thursday night. Ideas that the EPA will soon announce a cut the US ethanol mandate for next year are reportedly weighing upon the corn market at this juncture. However, overnight news that China will probably continue importing corn and soybeans offered robust support for prices. December corn futures gained 0.25 cents to $4.2675/bushel early Friday morning, while May added 0.25 to $4.4525.

The soy complex was quite mixed in overnight action. News that the US had been shut out of large South Korean soymeal tender seemingly undercut CBOT beans and meal Thursday night. Improved planting conditions in Argentina appeared negative as well. In contrast, the Asian palm oil situation remains problematic, thereby sparking gains in the Asian markets and in soyoil futures. January soybean futures dipped 5.25 cents to $12.9225/bushel around dawn Friday, while December soyoil rallied 0.21 cent to 41.18 cents/pound, and December soymeal slid $2.3 to $422.3/ton.

The wheat markets rallied in concert with corn. Having U.S. wheat shut out of a large Egyptian tender yesterday may limit the markets’ upside potential over the short term, but the news did not prevent prices from following corn higher Thursday night. Traders are seemingly being encouraged by talk that the recent price decline has rendered U.S. wheat more competitive on the international market. December CBOT wheat futures advanced 0.5 cents to $6.4525/bushel in early Friday trading, while December KCBT wheat futures inched up 0.25 cent to $7.0325, while December MWE futures added 2.75 to $7.0275.

Cattle traders may still expect a cash market advance. Wholesale beef prices rose sharply at midday Thursday, but cattle futures rallied quite modestly. Conversely, the afternoon beef report was bearish, but futures managed sustained their upward momentum. Ultimately, this may simply reflect firm industry expectations for another increase in country cattle prices later today. December cattle futures inched up 0.10 cents to 133.07 cents/pound early Friday morning, while April futures elevated 0.05 to 135.00. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle ran up 0.30 cents to 165.50 cents/pound, and March feeders lifted 0.17 cents to 165.07.

Thursday’s late pork strength boosted hog futures. Signs of increasing hog and pork supplies have recently weighed upon CME swine prices. However, while cash quotes slid again yesterday, pork values rebounded substantially from big Wednesday losses. That translated into moderate overnight gains in electronic trading. December hog futures surged 0.40 cents to 86.00 cents/pound as the sun rose over Chicago Friday, while April ascended 0.30 to 92.40.

Cotton futures posted a surprising rebound Thursday night. After failing at chart resistance earlier in the week, nearby cotton futures fell sharply yesterday. Overnight news that October Chinese cotton imports had fallen 48% last year seemed quite bearish as well, but futures rallied well in response. One has to wonder if traders believe Chinese buying will be “playing catch-up” during the weeks ahead. December cotton bounced 0.69 cents to 77.21 cents/pound just after sunrise Friday, while March cotton climbed 0.42 cents to 77.88.

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