Financial markets are closed for the Jan. 19 MLK holiday. News of another big sale boosted corn futures Friday. Corn futures seemed to rally on pre-weekend short covering Thursday night. Bulls then got good news when the USDA daily system reported the sale of 101,600 tonnes to an ‘unknown destination.’ Ultimately, recent corn losses have triggered active buying, which indicates significant demand strength. March corn futures gained 7.0 cents to $3.87/bushel in late Friday trading, while July moved up 7.5 to $4.01.
Chinese news undercut soybean and meal prices. The soy complex also proved firm in early Friday action, but traders became much more tentative after the USDA announced that Chinese buyers had cancelled soybean sales of 285,000 tonnes scheduled for this year. The implication that bean prices are too high clearly created concerns among CBOT traders. In contrast, rising crude oil and equity index prices encouraged buyers in the soyoil market. March soybean futures edged up 0.75 cent to $9.9175/bushel to end the week, while March soyoil rallied 0.40 to 33.39 cents/pound, and March meal skidded $0.3 to $326.2/ton.
The wheat markets posted mixed Friday closes. Wheat futures probably benefited from strength spilling over from the corn pit today, with midmorning gains in the energy and equity sectors seemingly encouraging bulls as well. In addition, bears were probably taking profits on recently establish shorts. The late Chicago weakness wasn’t encouraging. March CBOT wheat ended Friday unchanged at $5.3275/bushel, while March KC wheat bounced 4.0 cents to $5.77/bushel, and March MWE wheat lifted 5.0 to $5.86.
Cattle futures stabilized before the weekend. This week’s futures-led breakdown in country cattle prices cycled back into the Chicago market Friday morning, with traders seemingly believing they’ll see more of the same next week. However, futures firmed later in the day, possibly on short-covering before the long weekend. February live cattle futures rose 0.25 cents to 154.45 cents/pound in late Friday action, while the April contract crept up 0.15 cents to 152.95. January feeder cattle futures plunged 1.55 cents to 214.10, and March feeders slumped 0.75 to 204.85.
CME hogs turned lower once again. Although spot prices were generally stable Thursday afternoon, CME futures moved substantially lower once again today. Industry insiders were apparently hearing more bearish indications, which prompted a fresh round of selling. February hog futures dove 1.12 cents to 74.50 cents/pound at their Friday settlement, while June hogs tumbled 1.27 cents to 86.65.
Cotton futures couldn’t sustain midsession gains. New York cotton prices declined Thursday night, thereby seeming to reflect recent financial market concerns about global economic and demand prospects. ICE futures then bounced in concert with this morning’s energy-led stock rebound. Those markets remained strong, but cotton bulls couldn’t sustain the move. One has to wonder if the U.S. dollar’s surge to fresh 11-year highs undercut the fiber market. March cotton futures sank 0.26 cents to 59.23 cents/pound at Friday’s New York close, while the July contract sagged 0.34 to 60.91.