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 this morning. News of a big sorghum sale also seemed to encourage bulls. However, with several major USDA reports looming Monday, traders weren’t buying all that aggressively. March corn futures rallied 4.75 cents to $3.99/bushel around midsession Friday, while July added 4.0 to $4.135.
The soy complex bounced around midday. CONAB only slightly increased its Brazilian soybean production forecast last night, so it had limited impact on the markets. Meanwhile, the equity markets gave back a major portion of their midweek surge, with crude and palm oil prices dropping as well. Thus, the mixed-to-lower midsession readings in soybean and meal futures weren’t that surprising. Conversely, with the USDA reports looming Monday, the subsequent firming wasn’t shocking either. March soybean futures bounced 2.0 cents to $10.5025/bushel late Friday morning, while March soyoil gained 0.03 to 33.79 cents/pound, and March meal inched up $0.2 to $347.4/ton.
Wheat futures remained relatively weak Friday morning. Little wheat news emerged this morning, so traders in those markets were probably adjusting their holdings ahead of Monday’s USDA reports. Yesterday’s drop seemingly marked the start of fresh downward price leg, so persistent technical selling probably played a significant role in the slippage experienced this morning. March CBOT wheat inched up 0.5 cent to $5.675/bushel just before lunchtime Friday, while March KC wheat slumped 2.5 cents to $6.0525/bushel, and March MWE wheat skidded 1.25 to $6.0725.
Pessimism about beef demand seems to be undercutting 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’s hard not to blame pessimism about the demand outlook for the current breakdown in CME cattle and feeder futures. February live cattle futures plunged 3.00 cents to 160.60 cents/pound in late Friday morning trading, while the April contract dove 3.00 cents to 159.42. January feeder cattle futures plummeted 3.25 cents to 222.37 cents/pound, and March feeders crashed 3.95 cents to 213.10.
Hog futures traded mixed to lower Friday morning. The hog and pork industry continues looking for a seasonal low in cash and wholesale prices and a rally into mid-February. The fact that cash quotes have remained stubbornly weak has discouraged swine traders, as has weakness spilling over from the cattle market. February hog futures rose 0.15 cents to 78.32 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Friday, while June hogs fell 0.47 cents to 88.52.