The latest weather forecasts seemed to keep downward pressure upon the crop markets. Traders would have been forgiven for taking profits on short positions today, especially after the USDA announced several sizeable export deals through its daily sales reporting system. The fact that the major crop markets suffered another big round of losses probably reflected predictions for very favorable short-term weather conditions, as well as another rise by the U.S. dollar. September corn futures fell 10.75 cents to $3.925/bushel at Friday’s CBOT settlement, while December lost 10.75 to $4.1275.
Soybeans apparently led the crop markets lower Friday. The soy complex was favored by early news of a 220,000-tonne sale of soybeans to China this morning, but that seemed to do very little to stem the bearish tide. Soymeal held up relatively well, but soyoil proved even weaker than did the crude and palm oil markets in week-ending action. As with the other crop markets, current U.S. weather conditions seem very conducive to large autumn yields, thereby seeming to spur across-the-board selling. August soybeans ended Friday having plunged 18.75 cents to $9.9175/bushel, while August soyoil dove 0.71 cents to 30.48 cents/pound and August meal dipped $4.2 to $354.8/ton.
Wheat futures continued their breakdown as well Friday, with the nearby September Chicago contract seeming destined to test the $5.00/bushel level in the short term. As with corn and soybeans, favorable weather forecasts and U.S. dollar strength appeared to overwhelm support related to morning news of a big golden grain sale to Taiwan. September CBOT wheat futures closed 9.75 cents lower at $5.1175/bushel Friday, while Sep KC wheat sank 9.75 cents to $5.0725/bushel, and September MWE stumbled 7.75 cents close at $5.45.
Cattle futures remained under pressure Friday. Country cattle traded $2.00-$3.00 lower Thursday evening than they did late last week. That might easily have been construed as a fresh bearish indicator, but cattle futures posted only moderate losses. Traders probably viewed the cash losses as fulfilling bearish expectations, but they probably didn’t want to add to shorts ahead of this afternoon’s USDA reports. August cattle slid 0.32 cents to 143.02 cents/pound in late Friday action, while December futures declined 0.42 to 147.05. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures slipped just 0.10 cents to 209.67 cents/pound, whereas November feeders surged 0.95 to 204.97.
Hog futures proved unable to sustain their midweek gains. Although the CME price of the past two days seemed to set the stage for follow-through gains, bulls couldn’t sustain the hog market’s upward momentum today. That almost surely reflected continued slippage in the CME lean hog index (now estimated at 78.72 cents/pound) as well as lower midsession cash market quotes. Bears apparently expect further short-term weakness despite firming pork quotes. August hog futures slumped 0.60 cents to 77.67 cents/pound at their Friday close, while December sagged 0.23 cents to 61.52.
Cotton futures ended Friday somewhat lower. The prospect of strong U.S. yields appeared to weigh on the cotton market as well today, despite the big spring cutback in plantings. Bears may also have been reacting to continued equity market weakness, as well as the fresh firmness exhibited by the U.S. dollar. December cotton futures slipped 0.10 cents to 64.64 cents/pound at Friday’s ICE settlement, while May lost 0.02 cents to 64.66.