Corn futures held to a very narrow trading range overnight and as of 6:30 a.m. CT most contracts are fractionally lower. The market is under-performing soybeans after having recently tracked that market rather closely. South American weather remains a dominant factor. Traders may evening up positions ahead of the weekend and next Tuesday’s monthly WASDE report from the USDA. March corn futures slipped 0.25 cent to $3.6825/bushel early Friday morning, while the May contract stalled at $3.735.
Soybeans enjoyed corrective short-covering during the overnight session and most contracts are currently up 3 to 4 cents. Improved South American weather forecasts rather clearly depressed prices the past two days. However, with the WASDE report looming next Tuesday and weather forecasts open to weekend shifts, traders may be taking profits on recently established shorts this morning. March soybean futures rose 2.5 cents to $8.77/bushel Thursday night, while March soyoil rallied in concert with crude oil, gaining 0.24 cents to 31.48 cents/pound, and March meal inched up $0.5 to $268.1/ton.
Wheat futures softened with the start of the day trading session and prices faced pressure throughout the day. SRW wheat futures posted bearish reversals for the day and settled just off session lows with losses of around 7 cents. HRW wheat ended 8 3/4 cents lower, and HRS wheat posted losses of 5 to 6 cents. Wheat markets softened alongside corn and soybeans with the start of the day-trading session. Weekly wheat export sales of 66,200 MT for 2015-16 and 87,800 MT for 2016-17 fell short of already light expectations, reminding of the market's export struggles.
The cash cattle standoff continues on the Southern Plains, with bids around $136 countered by asking prices in the $140 to $142 range. Last week, trade in Texas and Kansas took place around $138, while locations farther north saw trade ranging from $135 to $138. Futures are in line with this range of prices and have hesitated to push prices far in either direction as they wait for trade to get underway. Meanwhile, both Choice and Select values rose 46 cents on Thursday, but movement slowed even further to just 113 loads.
After two days of solid movement, pork movement slowed on Thursday to just 315.02 loads on an 85-cent pullback in the pork cutout value. All cuts except bellies softened. Traders remain on-watch for a market top, but lean hog futures' uptrend has given few signs of slowing. The cash market has also climbed steadily higher since the start of the year, though recent steady prices could slow its upside momentum.
Cotton futures faced heavy pressure today and the market settled 136 to 171 points lower for the day. Fundamental analysis: Cotton futures plunged today, despite generally positive fundamental news. The U.S. dollar index was down sharply and weekly export sales of 251,600 RB for 2015-16 were up 96% from the week prior and 75% from the prior four-week average. USDA also reported sales of 6,800 RB for 2016-17. Exports notched a marketing-year high of 233,500 RB. China was near the bottom of the list of buyers, but that has been the case for months. Nevertheless, tepid demand from that country has remained a focal point for traders.