Ag markets ended the week on a strong note

Short-covering seemed to dominate Friday grain trading. Traders saw little fresh news Friday and probably don't expect much before Monday's Crop Progress report. The WASDE report follows next Wednesday. Anticipation of those releases may have encouraged traders to accelerate pre-weekend short-covering in the wake of recent corn/wheat losses. July corn ran up 10.0 cents to $4.59/bushel at Friday close, while December gained 10.5 cents to $4.5775.

The soy complex turned Friday. As with corn, little news concerning soybeans and products came out after Thursday's export data were released. Soyoil was apparently supported by strong short-covering, but technically weak old-crop beans and meal seemingly benefited little from such buying. New-crop prices prove surprisingly strong. July soybeans settled down 3.5 cents at $14.57/bushel Friday afternoon, while July soyoil rallied 0.32 cents to 39.01 cents/pound, and July soymeal slid $3.0 to $487.6/ton.

The wheat markets also appeared to stage a short-covering rally. As with corn and beans, little fresh wheat news emerged late in the week. That also spurred active short-covering prior to the weekend. Conditions in the southern and western Plains seem somewhat less favorable than those in the eastern Corn Belt, which may partially explain KC and MWE strength versus CBOT. July CBOT wheat futures bounced 12.5 cents to $6.1825/bushel in late-Friday trading, while July KCBT wheat leapt 21.5 cents to $7.355 and July MWE futures jumped 18.75 cents to $7.0925.

CME cattle prices turned mixed before the weekend. CME live cattle futures rose this week as traders came to anticipate firm-higher cash prices before the weekend. The June contract sustained the move Friday, but deferred futures weakened. That probably reflected big wholesale losses posted late in the week, as well as suspicions that seasonal cash/beef weakness will re-emerge by mid-June. August cattle slipped 0.02 cents to 141.30 cents/pound as pit trading ended Friday, while December fell 0.32 cents to 147.30. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle surged 0.70 cents to 200.52 cents/pound, and October rose 0.30 to 200.82.

Seasonal optimism seemed to power CME hogs upward. Thursday afternoon cash strength seemed supportive of Chicago swine futures and midsession pork gains provided additional encouragement. Hog traders rather clearly expect a big summer price surge, as indicated by the big July-August premiums built upon today. August hog futures climbed 1.10 cents to 129.30 cents/pound at their Friday close, while December advanced 0.70 cents to 94.60.

Cotton futures ended Friday firmly. Unlike the grain markets, July cotton futures continued their recent slide Friday. There was little fresh news, but one had to wonder if talk of rain across northern Texas kept some pressure on prices. We suspect technical and pragmatic factors played big roles in the late-week July weakness and concurrent bounce in new-crop prices. July cotton sank 0.72 cents to 84.78 cents/pound as the week's trading ended, while December cotton rebounded 0.38 to 78.00.


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