Short-covering helped the ag markets end week on rising note

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Corn futures recovered Friday afternoon. Long liquidation apparently exaggerated the bearish impact of slightly improved weather forecasts and talk of increased global corn production Friday morning. However, the market moved back toward unchanged levels later in the day, which probably reflected last-minute short-covering before the long holiday weekend. September corn slipped 2.25 cents to $4.95/bushel at Friday’s close, while December rose 0.5 cent to $4.82.

The soy complex ended the week in decidedly mixed fashion. As in the corn pit, modest improvements in Corn Belt weather forecasts and long liquidation weighed heavily upon soybean and product prices Friday morning. Conversely, late-day short-covering reduced the day’s losses in most contracts and/or pushed them slightly higher on the day. Weekend forecasts could make for a wild opening early next week. September soybeans closed 6.0 cents lower at $14.24/bushel Friday afternoon, while November beans dove 11.0 to $13.575. September soyoil rebounded 0.11 cents to 43.89 cents/pound, and September soymeal added $0.8 to $468.2/ton.

Wheat futures were mixed throughout Friday’s session. Sliding corn and soybean values probably weighed upon wheat futures at times Friday, but wire service reports suggested recent price declines had triggered fresh wheat buying at the global level. Furthermore, talk of potential crop problems in Argentina and Australia, as well as short-covering late in the day. September CBOT wheat rose 2.0 cents to $6.4325/bushel as trading wound down Friday afternoon, while September KCBT wheat inched 0.25 cent lower to $7.075, and September MGE futures declined 2.0 cents to $7.2225.

Cash action kept cattle futures from moving far Friday. Cattle futures fluctuated Thursday night and Friday in response to lower wholesale prices and conflicting reports concerning cash market action as the day passed. Ultimately, disappointing results in the Panhandle markets seemed to cause a generally weak close. Feeders rallied in reaction to early corn and soy weakness. October cattle futures settled 0.17 cents lower at 126.80 cents/pound Friday afternoon, but December gained 0.22 cents to 130.47. September feeder cattle futures bounced 0.70 cents to 156.92 cents/pound, while November surged 0.95 to 159.72.

Hog traders seemingly reacted to reduced production totals. The Friday afternoon slaughter seemingly confirmed late talk of another significant decline in the weekly hog kill. The resulting 3% annual reduction appeared to confirm the decline seen last week. And while those declines are probably temporary, similar early-September reductions might boost cash and wholesale prices. October hog futures climbed 0.30 cents to 87.62 cents/pound at its Friday settlement, while December advanced 0.45 cents to 84.75.

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