Corn futures turned strongly higher on Friday. Talk that China may buy large amounts of U.S. corn this year helped support the market. The U.S. Grains Council indicated that China may have to import up to 9 million tonnes of corn in 2011. Further gains were limited by weakness in crude oil prices and spillover selling from soybeans. March closed 16 cents higher at $6.78 1/2 and December was 13 1/4 cents higher at $6.01 3/4.
Soybean futures closed mixed on Friday. Front end contracts were pressured by profit-taking and improved crop weather in Argentina. Crop weather has been generally favorable in Brazil and recent rainfall has improved crop prospects in Argentina. But new-crop futures were slightly higher as soybeans remain in heavy competition for acreage this spring. March closed 2 cents lower at $14.33 1/2 while November was 3 1/2 cents higher at $13.69.
Wheat futures were lower on Friday. Profit-taking and reports of larger-than-expected deliverable stock of MGE spring wheat pressured prices. Strength in the dollar was also bearish for export demand. The political unrest in Egypt is a concern because they are the world’s largest wheat importer. Further losses were limited by the tight global supply of high quality wheat and increased winterkill concerns. CBOT March closed 5 1/4 cents lower at $8.53 3/4, KCBT March ended 6 1/4 cents lower at $9.42 3/4 and MGE March fell 10 cents to close at $9.88 1/2.
Cattle futures closed mostly lower on Friday. Deferred futures were pressured by losses in boxed beef prices and profit-taking from recent gains. Choice cutouts were 67 cents lower at midday after falling 64 cents on Thursday. But the February contract was slightly higher amid firm cash trade this week. Light cash trade developed this week at mostly $106, up $1-$2 from last week. February closed 5 cents higher at $108.25 while April was 18 cents lower at $113.03.
Lean hog futures traded higher on Friday. Strength in the cash market and the 92 cents rally in pork prices helped support the futures market. Snow and cold weather in the Midwest this week backed up hog marketings, but the increased Saturday slaughter should help work through market ready hogs. February ended $1.15 higher at $84.50 and April was 10 cents higher at $91.65.