Corn bulls seemingly took profits before the weekend. Corn futures have rallied strongly lately despite the record U.S. crop. However, with the weekly USDA Export Sales offering little support and the weekend looming, traders probably liquidated winning long positions today. December corn futures closed up 4.5 cents at $3.8175/bushel Friday, while May lost 4.5 to $4.0275.
Bulls probably took bean and meal profits as well. Vigorous demand obviously helped power the recent bean and meal rally, with oil getting carried along for the ride. However, today’s Export Sales data wasn’t very impressive, with bean sales lagging and the meal figure looking quite small. The markets also seemed to ignore the announcement of a sizeable sale to China. Traders were very likely squaring positions before the weekend. January soybean futures plunged 31.0 cents to $10.225/bushel at their Friday settlement, while December soyoil edged up 0.13 cent to 32.20 cents/pound, and December meal dove $13.6 to $379.9/ton.
Wheat traders may be worried about the Black Sea situation. Today’s wheat result on the Export Sales report slightly exceeded forecasts, which may have encouraged bulls already looking for news of winter kill in the U.S. winter wheat crop. But one also has suspect traders worry about an open outbreak of Ukrainian fighting over the weekend, which might explain a significant portion of today’s strength. December CBOT wheat surged 6.75 cents to $5.605/bushel in late Friday trading, while December KC wheat edged 0.25 cent higher to $6.055/bushel, and December MWE wheat added 5.0 to reach $5.8925.
Cattle traders seemingly expected firming cash prices. Current cattle fundamentals and seasonal factors look bullish. Moreover, prices might spike if the central and southern Plains are hit by cold, snowy winter weather. CME futures started slowly, but ended Friday moderately higher, probably in anticipation of a modest cash advance later in the day. December live cattle futures rallied 0.55 cents at 170.20 cents/pound in late Friday action, while April futures skidded 0.05 to 169.25. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle futures soared 1.90 cents to 236.12 cents/pound, and March feeders leapt 1.77 to 234.60.
Talk of frigid weather and improved demand boosted CME hogs. Frigid weather over the northern Plains could slow hog and pork production rates during the days and weeks ahead, but wire service sources also cited industry hopes for renewed pork demand at current price levels. That may be premature, but futures clearly acted well at the end of the week. December hog futures ended the week having jumped 1.40 cents to 92.67 cents/pound Friday, while April hogs surged 1.00 to 93.85.
Cotton reacted well to Friday’s export data. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated last week’s cotton total at 158,300 bales, which far exceeded the week prior and topped the four-week average by 88%. That large result almost surely spurred ICE buying. December cotton futures inched up 0.01 cent to 59.74 cents/pound at Friday’s ICE settlement, while March futures ran up 0.84 cents to 59.59.