The resurgent dollar capped the crop markets Friday. Crop futures moved mostly higher Thursday night on general demand optimism. Domestic bullishness was probably justified by the early morning Employment report, but the strong U.S. dollar response hurt export prospects and depressed prices. However, corn bulls proved able to push prices slightly higher at the close. March corn closed up 0.5 cent at $3.8575/bushel Friday afternoon, while July added 1.0 to $4.015.
The soy complex turned mixed before the weekend. Asian palm oil prices continued rising Thursday night in response to Indonesia’s announcement of increased subsidies for biodiesel producers. Given the concurrent crude oil strength, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see soyoil futures end the week on a strong note. Conversely, bulls couldn’t sustain early bean and meal gains in the face of the big employment-driven U.S. dollar surge. March soybean futures slumped 7.75 cents to $9.735/bushel as Friday’s CBOT session ended, but March soyoil gained 0.11 cents to 31.82 cents/pound, whereas March meal skidded $2.0 to $329.4/ton.
The wheat markets held up relatively well. Although the surging dollar also caused a bearish reversal in wheat futures Friday morning, golden grain futures ended the day in mixed fashion. Thursday’s talk of Egyptian buying probably offered persistent prices support. Futures also bounced from their 10-day moving average soon after the Employment report. March CBOT wheat ended Friday having inched up 1.25 cents to $5.27/bushel, while March KC wheat slid 2.25 to $5.6175/bushel, and March MWE wheat fell 2.0 to $5.77.
Cash strength supported cattle futures. The latest wholesale news has seemed rather bearish for the short-term cattle outlook, especially in the face of recent talk that packers aren’t able to export fresh, chilled product due to gridlock at the West Coast ports. However, cash prices proved generally stable at midweek and reportedly rose modestly today, which clearly favored bulls. April live cattle futures leapt the 3.00-cent daily limit to 151.02 cents/pound in late Friday action, while August cattle jumped 2.12 cents to 143.12 cents/pound. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures spiked 3.80 cents to 199.45 cents/pound and May feeders soared 3.20 to 199.67.
Hog traders seemed to think recent losses were overdone. The cash and wholesale markets remain quite weak amid talk of stunted exports due to the West Coast port situation. However, simply having the severity of the ongoing drop explained, with the prospect of a reversal when new port worker contracts are signed, may have encouraged many in the industry. April and June hog futures vaulted the 3.00-cent daily limit to 69.27 and 81.05 cents/pound, respectively, as the Chicago session ended Friday.
Cotton futures traded sideways Friday. Surprisingly strong exports and expectations for big 2015 production cutbacks reportedly powered the recent cotton rally. Nearby futures apparently encountered resistance as they neared their December highs and ended the week rather weakly. Still, the fact that they remained relatively stable as the dollar surged was impressive. March cotton futures sank 0.20 cents to 61.59 cents/pound as ICE traded ended for the week, while the July contract slipped 0.02 to 62.12.