Corn futures traded higher on Friday. The corn market was supported by spillover strength in wheat and further weakness in the dollar index. Additionally, the EPA is expected to approve the use of the E15 ethanol blend in gasoline for older cars back to 2001. Weekly export sales reported this morning at 43.2 million bushels were above pre-report trade expectations. March ended 3 1/4 cents higher at $6.57 1/4 and May was 3 cents higher at $6.67.
Soybean futures were mixed on Friday. Profit-taking pushed front end contract lower at the close. Futures were higher much of the day on strong weekly export sales and weakness in the dollar. Export sales last week of 33.6 million bushels were above trade expectations ranging from 20-26 million bushels. China was again the largest customer. On Thursday afternoon, a Chinese delegation visiting the U.S. inked deals to purchase over 3 million tonnes of U.S. soybean, likely in the 2011/12 marketing year. This was above the 2 million tonnes that traders were expecting. March closed 2 cents lower at $14.12 1/4 and May was 1 3/4 cents lower at $14.22 3/4.
Wheat futures closed solidly higher on Friday. The bullish weekly export sales report this morning and weakness in the dollar were supportive factors. Export sales last week of 42.2 million bushels were well above pre-report trade estimates ranging from 11-26 million bushels. Export demand for U.S. wheat has picked up as wheat importers have grown nervous about the tightening global supply of high-quality wheat because of the flooding in Australia. CBOT March ended 21 cents higher at $8.24 1/2, KCBT March was 13 3/4 cents higher at $9.00 and MGE March closed 17 1/4 cents higher at $9.37 1/4.
Cattle futures closed lower on Friday as traders were positioning for the Cattle on Feed report. Cash trade was down $1-$2 this week, but boxed beef prices remain strong. Choice cutouts were up 90 cents on Thursday and another 98 cents at midday Friday, hitting the highest level since July, 2008. February ended 70 cents lower at $107.95 and April was 78 cents lower at $112.68.
Lean hog futures closed mostly higher on Friday with the April through October contract posting new contract highs. Strength in the cash market was supportive this week. Hog supplies are tightening and packers have been forced to raise bids to fill slaughter schedules. Strong export markets have helped the market work through increased pork production. Weakness in the dollar today was a bullish factor for the export market. February ended 5 cents higher at $80.33 and June was 55 cents higher at $97.53.