Ag markets ended the week mostly lower

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Favorable weather forecasts apparently sank crop prices Friday afternoon. Today’s belated release of the weekly USDA Export Sales report did little to boost corn futures. The old-crop data looked supportive, but apparently wasn’t bullish enough to offset the bearish pressure of good spring weather. Prices turned decisively lower as the weekend loomed. July corn settled 3.75 cents lower at $4.6575/bushel Friday afternoon, while December lost 5.5 cents to $4.575.

Weather news seemed to overwhelm supportive export data. Both the new and old crop soybean Export Sales totals on the weekly report seemed to confirm underlying demand strength, which support CBOT bean and meal futures Friday morning. However, prices turned increasingly lower later in the day, with oil losses stemming from Asian palm weakness seeming to undercut Chicago quotes. Good weather encouraged bears as well. July soybeans fell 5.75 cents to $14.9325/bushel at Friday’s close, and July soyoil tumbled 0.91 cents to 38.50 cents/pound, but July soymeal gained $1.8 to $500.2/ton.

The wheat sales data probably encouraged bears. The Export Sales report indicated a reduction in old-crop sale commitments last week, which hardly encouraged industry bulls. And while the new-crop export figure was good, it apparently did little to offset the generally bearish global outlook for the 2014/15 crop year. Good weather was also a bearish factor. July CBOT wheat futures slid 5.25 cents to $6.2725/bushel in late Friday action, while July KCBT wheat sank 7.5 cents to $7.23 and July MWE futures slumped 8.0 cents to $7.065.

Profit-taking seemed to hit cattle futures Friday. News that cash cattle were holding up surprisingly well sparked a big midweek bounce at the CME. Sustained wholesale strength was also encouraging. However, Thursday’s late beef losses seemed to trigger bullish profit-taking before the weekend. June cattle sagged 0.22 cents to 137.80 cents/pound at their Friday settlement, while December stumbled 0.32 cents to 145.72. Meanwhile, lower feed costs boosted feeders. August feeder cattle stabilized at 197.05 cents/pound, and October rose 0.02 to 198.42.

CME hogs ended the week on a poor note. Hog futures closed rather weakly Thursday in response to big pork losses and mixed cash quotes. Country price looked weak Friday morning, whereas pork cutout rose modestly. But the 2014 contracts closed poorly, possibly due to suspicions that the widely anticipated seasonal rally won’t happen quickly. June hog futures dove 0.95 cents to 113.35 cents/pound as the week’s trading ended Friday, but December inched up 0.15 to 94.80.

The export data didn’t completely halt this week’s cotton bounce. Nearby cotton futures found support yesterday and boosted new-crop prices in the process, with some bulls likely thinking a sizeable rebound was looming. However, today’s Export Sales report indicated a laggardly pace last week, which rather obviously sent prices lower once again. New crop prices remained in their weather-driven decline, but old-crop tightness apparently enabled a firm July close. July cotton closed 0.12 cents higher at 86.27 cents/pound Friday, while December cotton dropped 0.91 to 77.47.



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