Ag markets generally declined ahead of Friday's USDA reports

Crop markets are anticipating today's USDA reports. The USDA will publish its monthly Crop Production and Supply/Demand (WASDE) reports today (11:00 AM CDT), which could impact the crop markets. Corn traders are seemingly taking profits on short-term long positions this morning as implied the modest overnight decline. Bears have probably been squaring positions all week. December corn futures dipped 3.25 cents at $3.415/bushel Thursday night, while May lost 3.5 to $3.63.

The soy complex also moved mostly lower in overnight action. Slumping energy prices, as well as the Asian palm oil market, are probably weighing on soyoil quotes as well. That only seemed to exaggerate the general soy weakness displayed in early morning trading. Again, traders are highly conscious of the market-moving potential of the late morning reports. November soybean futures fell 8.25 cents at $9.3375/bushel in predawn Friday trading, while December soyoil sagged 0.19 cents to 32.82 cents/pound, and December soymeal sank $2.1 to $311.4/ton.

The wheat markets also moved lower Thursday night. Wheat futures reacted weakly to bearish export news yesterday and weren't helped by the poor international situation. The fact that the nearby contracts failed after mounting a modest challenge of their 40-day moving average probably encouraged technical selling as well. Prices remain under pressure as the USDA reports loom. December CBOT wheat slid 3.75 cents to $4.895/bushel in early Friday action, while December KC wheat dropped 3.5 cents to $5.6925/bushel, and December MWE wheat slumped 3.0 to $5.505.

Cattle futures are starting Friday on a weak note. Although the expiring October contract posted a modest overnight rise, deferred futures moved modestly lower. That may simply reflect follow-through selling in the wake of stock market-led reversal. Conversely, bulls are still expecting a strong cash market result later today. December live cattle futures declined 0.27 cents to 165.60 cents/pound around early Friday morning, while April futures dove 1.20 to 165.20. Meanwhile, November feeder futures plunged 1.52 cents to 240.00 cents/pound and January feeders plummeted 1.97 to 233.32.

Hog futures are trading in mixed fashion. The recent surge in cash hog and wholesale pork prices seemed to lose its momentum Thursday, which at least partially explained the deferred contract's inability to sustain big early gains. They're mixed this morning as traders try to anticipate forthcoming spot market moves. December hogs skidded 0.32 cents to 95.30 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, while April gained 0.17 to 92.17.

Cotton is proving surprisingly strong. As one might expect, Thursday's big equity market breakdown triggered big losses in the cotton market as well, since the implied reduction in apparel demand translates quickly to reduced cotton usage. However, the fiber market has been depressed recently, so traders are probably squaring positions ahead of today's reports. December cotton futures rallied 0.61 cents to 64.55 cents/pound shortly after dawn Friday, while March futures rose 0.28 cents to 62.55.


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