Ag markets proved surprisingly volitile Friday

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Corn futures drew support from wheat again Friday. Corn has recently appeared to echo movements in the wheat pits, with traders seemingly ignoring bearish activity in the soy complex. Talk of diminished 2014 corn plantings may have sparked modest support, but long liquidation ahead of the weekend seemed to weigh on the market. May corn edged up 1.0 cent to $4.86/bushel Friday, while December added 3.25 to $4.8725.

The soy complex resumed its late decline in Friday action. After dropping sharply earlier this week, soybeans came back somewhat Thursday. However, futures resumed their breakdown today, with traders rather obviously focused upon recent cancellations of Chinese orders for Brazilian beans and talk of much more of the same. Asian palm weakness also depressed soyoil futures. May soybeans fell 7.75 cents to $13.885/bushel at their Friday settlement, while May soyoil dove 0.70 cents to 42.29 cents/pound, but May soymeal gained $2.1 at $444.0/ton.

Traders still seem optimistic about the wheat outlook. Although wheat futures suffered a sizeable setback yesterday, the same production concerns and export optimism that powered recent gains seemed to come to the fore again Friday. The rise came despite news that Canadian officials and union representatives have reached a deal to end a strike at the Vancouver port. The Black Sea situation is probably encouraging bulls as well. May CBOT wheat futures jumped 13.5 cents to $6.8725/bushel in late Friday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures leapt 14.75 cents to $7.515 and May MWE futures rallied 13.5 to $7.34.

Rising cash quotes boosted the cattle market at Friday’s close. Cattle futures sagged as the week passed, due largely to lost upward momentum in wholesale beef prices; that suggested reduced chances for cash market firmness. However, beef packers reportedly started paying steady money for country cattle Friday morning, then boosted those bids $1-$2/cwt as the day passed. That rather obviously spurred buying in Chicago. April cattle futures surged 1.62 cents to 145.25 cents/pound as the week’s traded ended Friday, while August climbed 0.70 cents to 135.47. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle advanced 1.30 cents to 177.22 cents/pound, and August rallied 1.05 to 179.40.

Hog futures turned mixed on suspected talk of cash weakness. Spiking cash and wholesale gains sent hog futures soaring again this week. However, those markets seemed to lose upward momentum Thursday. We suspect insiders were seeing less strength in the cash markets Friday morning, which would explain the mixed futures performance. April hogs closed 0.37 cents higher at 119.30 cents/pound Friday, while June inched up 0.05 to 126.85.

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