Hogs were the exception to general ag weakness Thursday night

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Renewed talk of Chinese rejections seemingly depressed corn Thursday night. China is reportedly set to reject another round of U.S. corn shipments for contamination with an unapproved GMO strain, which largely explains the overnight dip in CBOT futures. Favorable precipitation prospects for Argentina’s main growing areas probably added to downward pressure. March corn slumped 2.5 cents to $4.265/bushel early Friday morning, while May lost 2.25 to $4.33/bushel.

Improving Argentine prospects probably undercut the soy complex. Argentina’s main grain/soy areas are expected to be blessed with considerable rainfall over the next 10 days, thereby boosting harvest prospects for that country. Reports of accelerating Brazilian cropping may also be undercutting CBOT bean prices. Meanwhile, sliding palm prices in Asia once again weighed upon soyoil values. March soybean futures dove 10.25 cents to $12.6675/bushel Thursday night action, while March soyoil dropped 0.46 cents to 37.40 cents/pound, and March soymeal sagged $2.5 to $416.2/ton.

Wheat seemed to hit technical resistance overnight. Talk of robust export demand and fears of freeze damage continue supporting the wheat markets. However, bulls proved unable to sustain Thursday’s early push above moving average resistance, thereby seeming to prompt fresh selling today. Weakness spilling over from the corn and soy markets probably didn’t help the bullish cause. March CBOT wheat futures dipped 2.5 cents to $5.675/bushel in pre-dawn Friday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures fell 3.5 cents to $6.2875, and March MWE futures slid 3.0 to $6.1425.

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed Thursday night. After spiking upward during mid-January, cattle futures stalled Thursday. A big reason for the lost momentums came from the wholesale market, where beef cutout values turned downward. Bulls probably aren’t ready to throw in the towel yet, especially given the time of year, but a short-term wouldn’t be terribly surprising. February cattle futures skidded 0.05 cents to 143.87 cents/pound in early Friday trading, while the April contract added 0.02 cents to 140.62. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures sank 0.37 cents to 169.50 cents/pound, and May slipped 0.37 to 170.45.

Cash and wholesale strength boosted hogs. The hog and pork markets have slumped lately as the cash and wholesale markets failed to live up to bullish expectations. However, Thursday afternoon USDA reports finally indicated significant improvement at both levels, which likely powered the overnight surge. February hogs rallied 0.50 cents to 86.07 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, while June advanced 0.32 to 102.42.

Talk of reduced Chinese demand likely exaggerated overnight cotton weakness. Cotton futures continued this week’s slide Thursday night; that probably reflected technically inspired selling as much as anything else. However, a published wire service analysis of changes likely coming from China’s halt to its stockpiling program warned of diminished import demand later this year. That very likely added to the downward pressure. March cotton tumbled 0.59 cents to 86.74 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Friday, while July cotton lost 0.66 cents to 86.88.


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