Soybeans posted a surprising comeback Friday

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Strong exports helped corn futures overcome bearish influences Friday. The grain and soy markets moved mostly lower Friday morning in apparent response to the diving value of the Argentine peso and another big drop in the U.S. equity indices. However, the weekly Export Sales report seemed supportive of corn. That buying was reinforced by several large sales announced by the USDA around midmorning. Thus, corn posted a firm close. March corn settled 0.5 cent higher at $4.295/bushel Friday afternoon, while May gained 0.75 to $4.36/bushel.

Beans posted a surprising comeback Friday afternoon. The Argentine situation seemed to weigh heavily upon the soy complex Friday, since the ongoing peso breakdown is effectively cutting the international price of their soybean and product exports. Improved rainfall prospects are probably weighing on South American markets as well. However, CBOT prices staged an impressive rebound from early lows. Thus, good news on the latest USDA report and talk of increased Chinese buying reportedly powered the rise. March soybeans bounced 7.75 cents to $12.8475/bushel at Friday’s settlement, while March soyoil followed Asian palm prices lower, dipping 0.32 cents to 37.54 cents/pound, and March soymeal climbed $7.0 to $425.7/ton.

Wheat exports disappointed Friday. Unlike the corn and soybean totals, the wheat figure on the weekly Export Sales report disappointed traders. When combined with Thursday’s failure at technical resistance, today’s price weakness wasn’t terribly surprising. March CBOT wheat futures closed down 4.75 cents to $5.6525/bushel late Friday afternoon, while March KCBT wheat futures slid 5.0 cents to $6.2725, and March MWE futures sagged 4.25 to $6.13.

Profit-taking hit the cattle pit Friday. Spiking cash and wholesale prices sent cattle futures soaring in mid-January. However, beef prices turned downward Thursday afternoon, thereby potentially presaging a late-January decline. That very likely prompted the big futures setback as bullish traders took profits before the weekend. February cattle futures dropped 0.53 cents to end the week at 143.40 cents/pound, while the April contract sank 0.50 cents to 140.10. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures tumbled 1.00 cent to 168.87 cents/pound, and May lost 0.62 to 170.20.

Renewed cash and wholesale strength boosted hogs before the weekend. The hog and pork markets recently slumped as the cash and wholesale markets failed to live up to bullish expectations. However, late-week reports proved much more supportive, thereby seeming to presage big improvements at both levels. That likely powered the rebound posted Friday. February hogs jumped 0.80 cents to 86.37 cents/pound at their Friday close, while June advanced 0.25 to 102.35.

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