Corn continued suffering from demand concerns Friday. Thursday’s announcement that several Senators were introducing bipartisan legislation to eliminate the U.S. ethanol mandate weighed upon corn prices Friday. However, traders seemed more worried about the possibility that China will institute a wider ban on U.S. corn after it rejected several shipments contaminated with an unapproved GMO strain this week. March corn futures dropped 8.75 cents to $4.255/bushel by late Friday afternoon, while May lost 8.75 cents to $4.3375.
Meal strength boosted beans to a surprisingly strong weekending close. Good South American weather weighed upon the soy complex, as did fear of a potential cutback in Chinese buying. Nevertheless, December soymeal futures posted a strong close at expiration, which seemingly renewed optimism about underlying demand for soybeans and products. January soybeans rebounded 3.75 cents to $13.275/bushel as the week’s trading wound down, while January soyoil dipped 0.16 cents to 39.83 cents/pound, and January soymeal rose $2.5 to $432.6/ton.
The wheat markets remained weak. Wheat futures accompanied corn and soybean prices lower this week, with huge 2013 global production and the resulting stockpiles rather obviously weighing upon prices. The late losses have also gotten market momentum on the side of the bears, which probably prevented bulls from pushing the yellow grain markets higher in concert with the late bean rally. March CBOT wheat futures tumbled 5.0 cents to $6.2875/bushel late Friday morning, while March KCBT wheat futures declined 5.75 cents to $6.725, and March MWE futures skidded 3.5 cents to $6.605.
Diminished cash expectations reportedly weighed upon cattle futures Friday. Short-term cash market expectations seemingly turned more positive Thursday, but dimmed again today. Indeed, country prices posted around the close indicated a $1/cwt (cent/pound) from last week. Still, wintry weather, limited feedlot supplies and seasonally declining marketings seem likely to limit losses during the days and weeks ahead. February cattle futures settled 0.25 cents lower at 132.85 cents/pound Friday afternoon, and April futures slipped 0.32 to 133.80. Meanwhile, January and March feeder cattle futures ended the week having stabilized at 167.07 and 166.55 cents/pound, respectively.
Hog futures reacted poorly to the latest pork news. Hopes for renewed seasonal strength as country hog prices rose Wednesday and Thursday supported swine futures. However, a near-unanimous Thursday dive in pork prices set the stage for a poor CME showing Friday. Persistent midsession weakness seemingly caused traders to forget any short-term cash strength. February hog futures dove 0.82 cents to 87.17 cents/pound in late Friday action, while June sagged 0.30 to 99.50.