Ag markets ended the week in decidedly mixed fashion

Harvest pressure appeared to sink corn futures Friday. Strength spilling over from the wheat markets seemingly boosted corn futures in Friday morning trading. However, yellow grain prices slumped later in the day, with traders blaming harvest pressure for the decline. December corn futures sank 1.5 cents to $4.415 at its Friday close, while May futures dipped 1.5 cents to $4.6225/bushel

Traders were apparently disappointed by Friday morning sales reports. The soy complex was recently supported by talk of active exports. Indeed, the USDA announced large sales to China and an unknown destination early this morning. However, those totals seemingly disappointed CBOT traders, since beans and meal turned decidedly lower soon thereafter. November soybeans closed 2.0 cents lower at $12.9125/bushel to end the week, whereas December soyoil surged 0.56 cents to 41.68 cents/pound, and December soymeal skidded $2.9 to $410.1/ton.

Wheat futures rallied on South American news. One report suggested Brazil had recently been very aggressive in the U.S. wheat market lately, while another cited forecasts for a freeze in Argentina, which might badly damage that country's growing winter-wheat crop. The implication of persistently strong exports obviously encouraged traders. December CBOT wheat leapt 19.75 cents to $7.0575/bushel late Friday afternoon, while December KCBT wheat matched that move and closed at $7.6875, and December MGE futures jumped 15.25 to $7.6025.

Cattle futures proved surprisingly resilient Friday. Live cattle futures took a stunning downward turn after cash prices matched their all-time highs Thursday. Despite sizeable midday wholesale losses, futures rebounded Friday afternoon. That suggests traders thought Thursday's breakdown was overdone. December cattle futures settled 0.25 cents to 132.02 cents/pound Friday, while April bounced 0.15 cents to 134.65. Meanwhile, November feeder cattle slumped 0.05 cents to 166.85 cents/pound, and January was steady at 166.60.

The hog market declined rather sharply as the week's trading concluded. Although the current situation still seems quite supportive of hog and pork prices, CME traders appeared to focus upon the market's historical tendency for severe weakness late in the year. The midsession breakdown in pork values probably exacerbated those concerns. December hog futures fell 0.50 cents to 87.95 cents/pound by late morning, while April dropped 0.40 cents to 89.85.

Cotton futures proved unable to sustain Thursday's surge. Mixed equity index action and U.S. dollar weakness seemingly robbed cotton bulls of momentum Friday morning. Thus, they were apparently forced to focus upon recent talk of surprisingly large yields in the Southeast, as well as rising exchange-registered stocks. Futures ended the day sharply lower. December cotton tumbled 0.71 cents to 83.11 cents/pound to end the week, while March lost 0.63 to 84.32.


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