News of corn and sorghum sales boosted yellow grain prices. Talk of big South Korean tenders supported corn futures Thursday night and confirmation of a big U.S. sale to that country apparently spurred further gains today. News of a big sorghum sale also seemed to encourage bulls. The prospect of Monday’s major USDA reports may have stifled gains somewhat. March corn futures rallied 6.0 cents to $4.0025/bushel at their Friday settlement, while July added 5.0 to $4.145.
The soy complex ended the week in mixed fashion. The equity markets gave back a major portion of their midweek surge on Friday, with crude and palm oil prices dropping as well. Thus, the soyoil slide wasn’t surprising. Conversely, bean and meal traders seemed to be encouraged by news of strong corn exports despite recent U.S. dollar gains. Still, the looming USDA reports probably limited moves before the weekend. March soybean futures bounced 4.0 cents to $10.5225/bushel late Friday afternoon, while March soyoil dipped 0.08 to 33.68 cents/pound, and March meal inched up $1.9 to $349.1/ton.
Wheat futures remained relatively weak Friday. Little wheat news emerged before the weekend, so traders in those markets were probably adjusting their holdings ahead of Monday’s USDA reports. Thursday’s drop seemingly marked the start of fresh downward price leg, so persistent technical selling probably played a significant role in the late-week slide. March CBOT wheat closed 3.25 cents lower at $5.6375/bushel Friday, while March KC wheat slumped 7.25 cents to $6.005/bushel, and March MWE wheat slid 5.25 to $6.0325.
Pessimism about beef demand seemed to undercut cattle futures. The cattle and beef supply situation is tight and will probably tighten further on a seasonal basis during the weeks ahead. Thus, it was hard not to blame pessimism about the demand outlook for the late-week breakdown in CME cattle and feeder futures. February live cattle futures plunged 3.00 cents to 160.60 cents/pound in late Friday trading, while the April contract dove 3.00 cents to 159.42. January feeder cattle futures plummeted 3.20 cents to 222.42 cents/pound, and March feeders crashed 4.50 cents to 212.55.
Hog futures traded mixed Friday. This week the hog and pork industry continued looking for a seasonal low in cash and wholesale prices and a rally into mid-February. The fact that cash quotes remained stubbornly weak clearly discouraged swine traders, as has weakness spilling over from the cattle market. Intermittent pork strength apparently provided support. February hog futures ended Friday having climbed 0.85 cents to 79.02 cents/pound, while June hogs rose 0.20 cents to 89.20.