Ag traders preparing for looming USDA reports Friday

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Corn futures turned higher as Friday passed. Recent Midwest rainfall has been rather excessive, which has tended to boost new-crop corn prices. That may be one reason deferred futures rose modestly today. Old-crop prices were weaker, but edged upward as well. The general advance may also reflect widespread position-squaring ahead of Monday’s big USDA reports. July corn inched up 0.25 cent to $4.43/bushel at Friday’s close, while December bounced 4.0 to $4.4725.

The soy complex moved mostly lower. Wire service reports indicated traders were evening-up CBOT positions prior to next Monday’s Acreage and Grain Stocks reports. Given the general losses posted today that implies considerable long liquidation. Given futures’ proximity to pivotal moving averages on their charts, we probably shouldn’t expect a great deal of movement prior to Monday’s releases. July soybeans settled 5.0 cents lower at $14.32/bushel Friday afternoon, while July soyoil tumbled 0.53 cents to 39.98 cents/pound, but July soymeal rallied $4.3 to $469.8/ton.

Canadian news may have boosted the wheat markets Friday. Stats Canada (their version of the USDA) stated this morning that 2014 Canadian wheat plantings are likely to fall 7.4% below year-ago levels, thereby implying a commensurate production cut. That news, along with persistent weather worries, seemed to boost wheat futures. July CBOT wheat futures advanced 3.0 cents to $5.8525/bushel in late Friday action, while July KCBT wheat gained 5.0 cents to $7.26, and July MWE futures added 4.0 to $6.83.

Cattle traders may be think cash prices have topped. Cattle futures proved surprisingly weak Friday despite another big surge in cash prices. Given late wholesale weakness and the time of the year, traders seemingly interpreted today’s cash action as likely marking a short-term price peak. August cattle dove 1.63 cents to 151.12 cents/pound at Friday’s settlement, while December dropped 1.17 to 154.35. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle fell 0.80 cents to 214.32 cents/pound, and October feeders slumped 0.80 to 216.27.

Hog traders were preparing for the Hogs & Pigs report. After rallying strongly through mid-June, CME lean hog futures dipped at midweek. Signs of weakness at the cash and wholesale levels played a role in the setback, but traders were almost surely adjusting their holdings prior to today’s highly anticipated quarterly USDA Hogs & Pigs report (at 2:00 PM CDT). August hog futures surged 1.02 cents to 129.82 cents/pound as Friday’s CME pit session ended, while December slid 0.05 cents to 95.60.

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