Corn futures are lower at midday. Prices were higher overnight and early on Friday amid continued rumors of Chinese buying and possible export demand tied to lower Argentine production and news that Japan will halt European corn imports. However, the fact that USDA has yet to officially confirm any sales to China is seen as somewhat disappointing and prices have pulled back from the early highs. May corn is 1 1/2 cents lower at $6.19 1/2 and December is 1 3/4 cents lower at $5.40.
Soybean futures are trading higher at midsession. The market remains price-supported by more talk of Chinese buying interest. USDA announced additional Chinese old-crop purchases earlier this week. A Chinese spokesperson also has projected that the country will import more soybeans this year than what USDA is forecasting. Increased export demand for U.S. soybeans may be forthcoming as the harvest rolls along in Argentina with results to date more disappointing than the already subdued outlook. The May contract is up 6 1/4 cents at $14.22 and November is up 2 1/2 cents at $13.45.
Wheat futures are trading lower at midday. It’s mostly quick profit-taking after Thursday’s rebound. The fundamental situation for wheat is negative, with few weather issues remaining now that Europe’s driest areas are getting rain, too. The seasonal trend works against wheat through May unless interrupted by a weather scare or resumption in the bull market in corn, with wheat still a competitive feed grain. CBOT May is 3 ½ cents lower at $6.21 ¼; KCBT May is 6 ½ cents lower at $6.31 and MGE May is 7 ¼ cents lower at $8.02.
Cattle futures are trading higher at midsession. Cash trade wrapped up late Thursday in Nebraska with a firmer tone. Beef prices continue their recovery with choice beef up about $10 per cwt this week. However, prices action is choppy as traders even positions ahead of this afternoon’s Cattle on Feed report. The report is expected to show placements down 7% to 8% from a year ago but cattle on feed still up 2%. June cattle futures are 20 cents higher $116.05 and August is 25 cents higher at $119.00.
Lean hog futures are trading mostly lower at midday. The pork cutout value did increase on Thursday, but cash hog prices were down and early reports show further declines on Friday. Futures have been erratic this week, down on Monday, up on Tuesday, down on Wednesday and up on Thursday. Processors are cutting back on slaughter this week, but so far that hasn’t been enough to push pork prices up much. Domestic demand remains very weak. The June contract is down 33 cents at $88.45 and July is down 25 cents at $89.08.