Corn futures closed fractionally mixed. Continued strength in wheat and soybeans helped underpin the corn market. Corn export demand is soft, but there is still uncertainty about final production and early yield reports are not encouraging. Also the process of ration the limited supply is just beginning. September corn closed up 3/4 cents at $7.98 1/2 and December closed 1/4 cent lower at $8.07 1/4.
The soybean market traded higher on Friday. At the close, September beans were up 14 3/4 cents at $16.71 and November soybeans jumped 20 1/2 cents to close at $16.45 3/4. The market recovered early week losses on news of stronger Midwest basis levels. Recent pullbacks in the market have encouraged consumer buyers who are short on forward coverage to buy beans. The stronger basis suggests more of that consumer buying today. Rains in the central Midwest over the past two days have been beneficial. But there remains much uncertainty about the severity of damage prior to the recent moderation in the weather patterns.
Wheat futures closed higher Friday on a second straight day of speculation that Russia and Ukraine may halt new grain sales due to falling production estimates in the Black Sea region. Limiting the gains, however, were forecasts for more fairly widespread (though light) rains through the southern Plains, just as producers there prepare to start seeding next year’s HRW wheat crop. It will take a “trend” change towards more rain to overcome months of drought, of course, and no weather forecasters are calling this event a “trend” change. At the close, CBOT September was up 12 ¾ cents at $8.94 ½; KCBT September closed 12 ¾ cents higher at $9.09 ¾ and MGE September closed 8 cents higher at $9.40.
Live cattle futures were mixed on Friday. Cash cattle traded Friday mostly $2 higher from a week ago at $121. Higher cash prices and further gains in the beef market provided underlying support to cattle futures. After the close, USDA released the monthly Cattle on Feed report. COF as August 1 were up 1% from a year ago. July placements were down 10% and markets were steady with a year ago. The October contract closed 27 cents lower at $125.27 while December closed 12 cents higher at $128.20.
Lean hog futures closed higher on Friday with light trade volume. The uptick in prices was attributed to short covering and technical factors. Hog slaughter for the week is estimated at 2.166 million head, up 5.7 percent from a year ago. Hog weights are also above last year’s level and still rising. The CME hog price index is still around $91.50, and that is providing support to nearby contracts. Cash hog prices were mixed on Friday and prices are down nearly $3 per cwt from a week ago. While the CME index is above $91, cash hog prices are near $85 and further declines are possible. The October contract settled at $76.20, up 58 cents. December was 70 cents higher at $73.60.