Ag markets mixed as the weekend loomed on Friday

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Corn futures remained slightly higher Friday morning. The ag markets continue suffering from limited information during the government shutdown. Corn prices are reportedly be boosted by short-covering ahead of the weekend, talk of slowing harvest rates due to wet short-term forecasts and strength spilling over from the wheat markets. December corn futures edged up 1.0 cent to $4.4025 around midsession Friday, while May added 0.5 cents to $4.6075/bushel.

The soy complex bounced from early lows Friday. Wire service reports indicate early harvest totals are exceeding anticipated levels, thereby suggesting that trend will persist as harvesting activity moves north. However, the early-morning release of Canadian production figures posted a canola figure slightly below forecasts. Moreover, a respected Ag industry firm lowered its estimate of the U.S. bean crop. Those events supported the soy markets. November soybeans climbed 5.25 cents to $12.935/bushel by late Friday morning, while December rallied 0.09 cents to 40.36 cents/pound, and December soymeal rose $1.6 to $416.9/ton.

Canadian wheat data may have dragged wheat prices downward this morning. Wheat futures had sustained an impressive advance over the past two weeks, which may have set the stage for a setback before the weekend. The spark for such selling may have come from Canada, where Stats Canada published a wheat production total modestly above predicted levels. December CBOT wheat sank 3.0 cents to $6.8625 bushel around midmorning Friday, while December KCBT wheat dropped 5.25 cents to $7.5025, and December MGE futures skidded 1.25 cents to $7.49.

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed Friday morning. The cattle market is still feeling the lack of USDA information, which probably explains trader reluctance to push prices far in either direction at this point. Ultimately, disappointment over this week’s cash slippage is probably weighing upon prices. Conversely, talk of a weekend blizzard over Nebraska and the Dakotas may be supporting the market. December cattle futures slipped 0.02 cents to 131.75 cents/pound just before lunchtime Friday, while April drooped 0.15 cents to 134.65. Meanwhile, November feeder cattle inched up 0.02 cents to 165.65 cents/pound, whereas January gained was steady at 165.40.

Hog futures moved slightly higher in Friday morning trading. Again, the lack of USDA news is very likely limiting activity in the hog pit. Talk of steady-weak prices at the various country markets probably supported CME prices, since the nearby contracts have significant discounts built into them. Traders may also believe the USDA overestimated current swine numbers on last Friday’s Hogs & Pigs report, thinking fall prices will be stronger than the report implied. December hog futures rose 0.07 cents to 86.85 cents/pound early Friday morning, while April lifted 0.10 cents to 89.75.

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