Ag traders are squaring positions ahead of big USDA reports

Corn futures are mixed around midsession Friday. Recent Midwest rainfall has been rather excessive, which has tended to boost new-crop corn prices. That may be why deferred futures rose modestly this morning, whereas as the old-crop July slipped. Prices likely reflect widespread position-squaring ahead of Monday's big USDA reports. July corn dipped 0.25 cent to $4.425/bushel late Friday morning, while December bounced 2.25 to $4.455.

The soy complex has moved mostly lower. Wire service reports indicate that traders are evening-up CBOT positions prior to next Monday's Acreage and Grain Stocks reports. Given the general losses posted this morning, that implies a good deal of long liquidation. Given futures' proximity to pivotal moving averages on their charts, we probably shouldn't expect a great deal of movement prior to Monday's releases. July soybeans fell 10.0 cents to $14.27/bushel shortly before lunchtime Friday, while July soyoil tumbled 0.29 cents to 40.22 cents/pound, but July soymeal rallied $0.6 to $466.1/ton.

Canadian news may be boosting the wheat markets. Stats Canada (their version of the USDA) stated this morning that Canadian wheat plantings are likely to fall 1.9 million acres (7.4%) below year-ago levels, thereby implying a commensurate production cut. That news, along with persistent weather worries, seemed to boost wheat futures. July CBOT wheat futures advanced 5.5 cents to $5.8775/bushel in late Friday morning action, while July KCBT wheat surged 9.75 cents to $7.3075, and July MWE futures added 11.75 to $6.9075.

Cattle traders may be having second thoughts about cash prices. Surging wholesale prices have boosted cattle prices across the country and in Chicago lately. However, Wednesday-Thursday beef price shifts were much less encouraging, which in turn may be causing CME traders to doubt cash prices will advance again this week. Midsession futures losses won't encourage rising packer bids either. August cattle dove 1.00 cents to 151.75 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Friday, while December dropped 0.90 to 154.90. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle plunged 1.52 cents to 213.60 cents/pound, and October feeders plummeted 1.85 to 215.22.

Hog traders are likely preparing for the Hogs &; Pigs report. After rallying strongly through mid-June, CME lean hog futures have dipped the past two days. Signs of weakness at the cash and wholesale levels played a role in the setback, but traders are almost surely adjusting their holdings prior to today's highly anticipated quarterly USDA Hogs &; Pigs report (at 2:00 PM CDT). August hog futures inched 0.22 cents higher to 129.02 cents/pound late Friday morning, while December slid 0.65 cents to 95.10.


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