Ag markets proved generally firm in late Friday trading

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Corn futures ended the week on a firm note. Recent gains have suggested that the harvest lows for corn are now in, which has probably spurred a cycle of short-covering and added advances. However, bulls have to be concerned that this week’s Chinese cancellations of U.S. cargoes due to unapproved GMO contamination will substantially curtail shipments to that country during the weeks ahead. March corn futures settled 0.75 cent higher at $4.3425/bushel Friday and May gained 0.75 to $4.4275.

Improved South American production prospects depressed the soy complex. Recent rains have reportedly improved production prospects for the major South American producers rather substantially, thereby prompting widespread selling at the CBOT. However, news of a sizeable bean sale posted early Friday morning largely offset the bearish South American expectations. January soybeans dipped 2.5 cents to $13.255/bushel in late Friday trading, while January soyoil sagged 0.12 cents to 40.49 cents/pound, and January soymeal slid $0.7 to $427.4/ton.

Wheat futures were mixed Friday. Ideas that this week’s wheat losses were overdone seemingly supported wheat this morning. Traders may be thinking the market will sustain a rebound from the lows hit this week. Still, production estimates are huge and might be revised upward on next Tuesday’s WASDE report. March CBOT wheat futures skidded 1.0 cent to $6.51/bushel at their Friday close, while March KCBT wheat futures edged up 0.25 cent to $6.955, and March MWE futures slipped 3.25 to $6.81.

Cattle futures seemingly benefitted from pre-weekend short covering. After suffering an unexpected breakdown Thursday, cattle futures stabilized Friday. The strength of current demand remains a concern, but the potential for supply shortages this winter apparently spurred late-week short-covering. February cattle futures closed just 0.05 cents lower at 132.85 cents/pound Friday, while the April contract lost 0.05 to 133.70. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle rose 0.35 cents to 164.47 cents/pound, while March feeders gained 0.25 to 164.67.

Hog futures made a Friday afternoon comeback. This week’s decline in direct market priced continued Thursday, thereby weighing rather heavily upon CME futures. Wholesale values fell sharply on the midday report, but the most-active February contract surged into the close. The relatively small weekly kill probably encouraged bulls. February hog futures bounced 0.32 cents at 89.00 cents/pound Friday afternoon, while June moved up 0.20 to 99.70.

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