Lunar New Year celebrations are limiting ag market activities

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Corn futures gave back a portion of Thursday’s gains overnight. The corn rose significantly yesterday after the weekly Export Sales report stated the previous week’s total well above forecasts. With many Asian traders celebrating the Lunar New Year, overnight trading was quiet, with a bit of long liquidation seemingly depressing futures somewhat. March corn slipped 0.75 cent to $4.3275/bushel early Friday morning, while May lost 1.0 to $4.385.

The soy complex was decidedly mixed early Friday morning. Traders in the soy markets expect the accelerating South American harvest to weigh heavily upon prices during the coming weeks, since U.S. beans have tended to dominate the international markets since last fall. However, the fact that vigorous global demand has greatly reduced domestic supplies will probably provide persistent support. March soybeans edged up 0.25 cents to $12.7525/bushel in pre-dawn Friday activity, while March soyoil dipped 0.13 cents to 36.94 cents/pound, and March soymeal moved up $0.9 to $426.1/ton.

The wheat markets continued their modest bounce from Wednesday’s lows. Diminished weather threats to current world crops seemed to trigger Wednesday’s wheat drop to multi-year lows. Prices are now recovering, but remain below former resistance. Huge global supplies seem likely to limit the markets’ upside potential in the short term. March CBOT wheat futures rose 2.0 cents to $5.555/bushel in early Friday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures gained 2.75 cents to $6.135, and March MWE futures added 1.5 to $5.9875.

Late wholesale weakness undercut cattle futures Thursday night. After diving earlier in the week, wholesale beef values seemed to stabilize Thursday. That news likely supported the CME cattle market. However, the afternoon beef report indicated surprising weakness, which probably explains the futures slippage posted overnight. February cattle futures skidded 0.05 cents to 142.10 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, while the April slid 0.20 at 140.32. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle bounced 0.07 cents to 168.77 cents/pound, and May gained 0.10 to 169.52.

Thursday’s late news boosted hog futures. CME hog premiums over country values are limiting the former market’s short-term bullish potential, especially when cash and wholesale prices fall short of expectations. However, those markets were stated significantly higher Thursday afternoon, which likely supported Chicago prices overnight. February hogs inched up 0.02 cents to 86.40 cents/pound early Friday morning, while June ran up 0.35 to 103.70.

Thursday’s export data continue supporting cotton futures. The weekly Export Sales report indicated cotton exports has reached a massive total for a second straight week, thereby boosting ICE futures. The price rise might have been much larger if not for the fact that surging certificated stocks imply the industry will actively deliver against the March contract when in expires. Thus, the overnight gain was rather impressive. March cotton climbed 0.29 cents to 86.32 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Friday, while July cotton advanced 0.19 to 86.83.

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