Big export sales boosted the corn market Friday. Despite the negative export implications of the ongoing U.S. dollar surge, corn futures rallied in response to today’s weekly USDA Export Sales report. The 2.185 million-tonne total was the largest result since early January 2008, which highlights its sheer size and says good things about export demand. March corn bounced 3.0 cents to $3.8675/bushel late Friday afternoon, while July rose 3.5 to $4.0275.
Soymeal diverged from general ag market weakness. As one might have expected, recent news of canceled bean sales to China crunched the weekly export sales total. Meal sales were good, while oil movement was moderate. Meanwhile, financial and energy market shifts, along with fund activity seemed to sink the soyoil market. One has to suspect talk of vigorous demand is supporting meal prices. March soybean futures slid 4.0 cents to $9.7275/bushel in late Friday trading, while March soyoil fell 0.37 to 31.60 cents/pound, and March meal climbed $1.4 to $331.5/ton.
Wheat futures ended Friday on a mixed note. With the wheat markets seemingly balanced between dollar-driven selling and buying on concerns about the Black Sea situation, the Export Sales figure favored the bulls. The 458,400-tonne result topped the forecast range and apparently limited losses in the winter wheat markets. Those losses may have reflected improved moisture in the southern Plains. March CBOT wheat sank 3.75 cents to $5.30/bushel at their Friday close, while March KC wheat slipped 0.75 cent to $5.64/bushel, but March MWE wheat gained 0.5 to $5.76.
Fund liquidation seemed to scuttle the livestock markets. Concerns about commodity deflation and sinking export prospects seemed to spur fresh commodity fund liquidation Friday. The relatively elevated levels recently reached by the livestock markets, particularly those in the cattle sector, seemingly exaggerated the reaction. Thursday’s spot market losses probably encouraged bears as well. February and April live cattle futures plunged the 3.00-cent daily limit to 150.50 and 148.80 cents/pound, respectively, at Friday’s CME settlement. January feeder cattle futures fell 2.27 cents to 213.70, and March feeders plummeted 4.50 to 201.82.
CME hogs extended Thursday’s big bearish move. Persistent early-January losses in the cash hog and pork markets were not particularly severe. However, the downtrend seemed to accelerate Thursday, thereby sparking a big CME breakdown. Moreover, the drop rendered the swine market vulnerable to selling related to deflation concerns. February hog futures closed 2.30 cents lower at 69.30 cents/pound Friday, while June hogs dove 2.95 cents to 80.20.