Corn futures were neutral-higher early Friday morning on the last trading day of October. While weekly corn export sales numbers came in above expectations, they continue to be behind pace for USDA's target for this marketing year. The corn market remains range bound, supported by firm cash basis but depressed by overall unimpressive exports and strong U.S. and World stock-use-ratios. Funds were net buyers of 7,000 contracts. Secretary Vilsack announced the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership that will partner with 21 states to nearly double the number of biofuel pumps in the U.S. Brent crude and gold were both higher while the dollar was lower. December corn futures moved 0.5 cents higher to $3.805/bushel, while March gained 0.5 to $3.9025.

Soybean futures sagged despite today’s supportive trade news. That is, weekly export sales surged to an 11-month high at 2.087 million tonnes, whereas pre-report forecasts topped out at 2.0 million. Bulls had to be disappointed with the futures result, but there seemed to be little escape from ideas that Brazilian production is on track to set a fresh record in the wake of recent rains. The possibility of a changing of the guard in Argentina’s Presidency, along with an easing of its soybean export policies, likely limited buying. November soybeans slid 2.75 cents to $8.7875/bushel as Thursday’s trading wound down, while December soyoil sank 0.23 cents to 27.88 cents/pound but December meal rose $1.7 to $301.60.

Wheat futures reacted well to the early-Thursday Export Sales report from the USDA, which at least partially reflected the fact that last week’s sales total modestly exceeded pre-report forecasts. Ideas that the various funds were over-exposed to short-side risk reportedly spurred buying as well. The decisiveness of Monday’s rally and bear’ inability to force the contract price below its 40-day moving average yesterday more than likely exaggerated today’s advance. December CBOT wheat futures surged 9.0 cents to $5.15/bushel at their Thursday settlement, while Dec KC wheat gained 2.75 cents to $4.8825, and December MWE ran up 4.0 cents to $5.20.              

Cattle futures set back after posting limit-up gains Wednesday. Ideas that the recent price surge is hurting beef demand reportedly played a big role in the drop, especially after traders saw midsession data indicating flat-mixed wholesale prices. Technicians probably sold rather aggressively as well after bulls proved unable to sustain an early breakout attempt. On the other hand, the December futures close above its 10-day moving average still leaves the market open to potential gains. December live cattle futures fell 0.80 cents to 142.80 cents/pound in late Thursday action, while February futures declined 1.05 cents to 144.32. November feeder cattle slid 0.32 cents to 191.92 and January futures stumbled 0.40 to 184.25.

Talk of dwindling seasonal demand seemed to undercut hog futures once again, with a report of a 14.00 cent-plus plunge in wholesale pork belly values reportedly sending the whole complex lower. Given the stunning firmness exhibited by the belly market in recent weeks a big drop wasprobably inevitable. The fact that ham stocks are extremely large by historical standards, in addition to greatly elevated production totals, may also be contributing to the ongoing drop. December hog futures plunged 1.52 cents to 59.87 cents/pound at Thursday’s CME close, while April hogs tumbled 1.40 to 67.12.             

Disappointing exports hurt cotton futures. The USDA stated last week’s cotton export sales at 76,100 running (480 pound) bales, which represented respective declines of 22% and 38% from the week-ago total and the four-week average. The fact that equity futures spent most of the day underwater probably weighed upon prices as well. From a technical standpoint, December futures seem stuck between their 10 and 40-day moving averages. That may mean short-term lack of movement, but a breakout from that range could generate a significant follow-through. December cotton futures lost 0.35 cents to 62.32 cents/pound as ICE trading ended, while May cotton sagged 0.25 cents to 62.21.