Ag markets were mixed again Friday morning

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Both the equity markets and the U.S. dollar resumed their recent rallies early Friday morning, thereby exerting opposing forces upon the commodity markets. That partially explains the mixed nature of overnight trading. Corn futures apparently rose moderately in reaction to forecasts for widespread rainfall to return to the Corn Belt today and continue through the weekend. July corn gained 1.75 cents to $6.4325/bushel early Friday morning, while December added 1.0 cents to $5.25.

The soybean market seemed to be boosted Friday morning by the same arguments powering recent gains. The tight old crop situation apparently supported the nearby July contracts, while doubts about excessive production later this year seemingly sparked buying of the deferred contracts. Strong palm oil prices probably provided spillover support as well. July soybean futures climbed 9.25 cents to $14.3675/bushel in Thursday night trading, while July soyoil rose 0.29 cents to 49.81 cents/pound, and July soybean meal edged $1.3 higher to $416.2/ton.

Wheat futures proved much weaker than corn and beans Thursday night. That probably reflects the bearish global forecast made by the USDA WASDE report last week. But the more immediate cause could be the idea that the rainfall expected this weekend will provide much needed moisture to the growing winter wheat crop. July CBOT wheat futures slipped 1.75 cents to $6.865/bushel early Friday morning, while July KCBT wheat was unchanged at $7.435, as were July MGE futures at $8.04.

Cattle futures remained under downward pressure Thursday despite carrying sizeable discounts to recent cash values. Traders apparently expect large seasonal declines during the weeks ahead. Indeed, they seemingly think current wholesale strength will strangle consumer beef demand by early summer and are ignoring the potential spread of record beef prices back toward the farm level. Futures were narrowly mixed overnight. June cattle inched 0.12 cents higher to 120.02 cents/pound early Friday morning, while December added 0.10 to 124.37. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures skidded 0.22 cents to 134.80 cents/pound, while October dipped 0.02 cents to 149.20.

In contrast to the seasonal production surge being occurring in the cattle/beef complex, hog and pork production is approaching annual lows in early summer. That partially explains the big jump in wholesale pork values Thursday afternoon. That also goes far toward justifying the Thursday hog futures surge, as well as the follow-through gains posted overnight. June hog futures climbed 0.40 cents, to 93.27 cents/pound as the sun rose over Chicago Friday morning, while December futures were unchanged at 77.35.

The weekly export sales report indicated another poor sales week for U.S. cotton, thereby depressing prices Thursday. ICE futures remained under pressure early Friday morning, with equity index gains seemingly mitigating the bearish export effect of the rising U.S. dollar. Technical factors currently appear negative as well. July cotton slipped 0.13 cents to 85.90 in early Friday action, while December declined 0.30 cents at 85.03.

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