Grain markets post varying reactions to the WASDE report

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Corn futures surged Friday in response to the USDA WASDE report. The numbers were generally mixed, with an upward revision in domestic feed and residual usage offsetting a reduction in the export forecast. The resulting stability of the forecast 2012/13 carryout sparked the futures advance, because traders were expecting an increase. May corn rose 12.25 cents to $7.035/bushel to end the week, while December gained 4.75 cents to $5.465.

The WASDE report was viewed as moderately bearish for soybean futures. As with corn, the USDA left its prediction for 2012/13 ending stocks unchanged. However, the industry was anticipating a reduction in that figure, so the comparatively large result exerted downward pressure upon prices. The USDA also lowered its forecast of the Argentine soybean crop less than expected, which also weighed upon prices. May soybeans dipped 2.5 cents to $14.71/bushel at its Friday settlement, while May soyoil dropped 0.27 cents to 50.34 cents/pound, and May meal lost $1.2 to $435.2/ton.

The wheat market reacted rather poorly to WASDE report after the USDA raised its estimates for both U.S. and global ending stocks. The U.S. increase was caused by a cut in the export forecast and commensurate rise in 2012/13 carryout that exceeded industry expectations. Deferred futures suffered more substantially than the nearby contracts, probably as a result of improving precipitation forecasts for the Great Plains during the days ahead. May CBOT wheat futures actually ended its Friday session 0.5 cent higher at $6.97/bushel, while May KCBT wheat dipped 0.25 cent to $7.3475, and May MGE futures lost 2.5 cents to $7.92.

Cattle futures continued their recent decline Friday, which probably reflected disappointment with the flat cash prices (around 128 cents/pound) posted this week. The recent wholesale rally also appears to be losing momentum. Meanwhile, pessimism about the cattle outlook seems to be undercutting feeder cattle rather badly. April cattle fell 0.75 cents to 127.55 cents/pound at their Friday afternoon settlement, while August dropped 0.97 cents to 124.27. April feeder cattle dove 1.27 cents to 141.35 cents/pound, while August sank 1.30 cents to 150.55.

After sprinting higher Thursday, hog futures were decidedly mixed Friday. Early reports implying country market weakness probably weighed upon nearby futures, as did weakness spilling over from the cattle pit. Traders seemingly had little reason to expect a reversal of recent pork losses either. The USDA actually cut its 2013 pork production forecast by 50 million pounds, but that would represent a reduction of 0.2%, so it did not substantially affect CME futures. April hogs rose 0.22 cents to 82.02 late Friday afternoon, while June slipped 0.22 cents to 91.70.

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