New crop corn futures firmed Friday despite generally bearish developments. Easing basis quotes seemingly undercut the old crop contracts, with another surge by the U.S. dollar having generally negative implications for the whole commodity sector. Wire service sources also indicated improved weather forecasts might be depressing the markets, but anecdotal reports of surprisingly poor conditions around the Corn Belt were seemingly supporting the 2013/14 contracts. July corn dipped 6.0 cents to $6.6725/bushel late Friday morning, while December rose 1.25 cents to $5.6175.
The soy complex was trading in decidedly mixed fashion late Friday morning. Concerns about old crop tightness were apparently supporting the nearby soybean and meal contracts, whereas new crop futures seemed to be unfazed by the country depressing corn yield forecasts. The young legume plants are reportedly less vulnerable than their counterparts in corn fields at this juncture. The soyoil market may be suffering from diminished expectations for Chinese demand. July soybean futures slipped 2.0 cents to $14.955/bushel around midsession Friday, while July soyoil sagged 0.33 cents to 48.07 cents/pound, and July soymeal rallied $0.2 to $445.8/ton.
The anecdotal reports boosting new crop corn futures seemed to be doing the same for wheat prices Friday. Traders are apparently hearing about disappointing winter wheat yields in both the Southern Plains and in southern Illinois. They may also be building upon talk that China will boost its buying of U.S. wheat after having bought French product earlier this week. However, the ongoing U.S. dollar rally may be working against such ideas. July CBOT wheat edged up 1.5 cents to $7.02/bushel in late Friday morning trading, while July KCBT wheat added 3.0 cents to $7.40, and July MGE futures gained 1.5 cents to $8.155.
Cattle futures posted impressive gains Friday morning despite ostensibly bearish conditions. Equity market weakness and U.S. dollar strength seem particularly negative for the cattle and beef outlook, but traders may now be thinking the cash cattle markets are nearing a seasonal low. Indeed, the strength of late-morning gains suggest packers have started boosting their bids from low-ball levels posted earlier in the week. The CME gains seem likely to lead to firm cash prices later in the day. August cattle jumped 1.05 cents to 121.00 cents/pound around mid-session Friday, while December climbed 0.57 cents to 126.50. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures surged 1.07 cents to 145.50 cents/pound and November advanced 0.85 to 151.00.
Chicago traders apparently think the seasonal hog/pork rally has run its course. Despite a significant cash premium, a large gain on the midday wholesale report and the concurrent cattle rally, swine futures were trading noticeably lower just before noon Friday. The hog and complex has a history of reversing decisively after reaching a second-quarter high, so a cautious approach to CME futures seems entirely warranted. July hog futures fell 0.82 cents to 99.42 cents/pound in late morning trading, while December tumbled 0.42 cents to 81.82.