Markets moved little ahead of the late-morning USDA reports

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Corn maintained its pattern of old crop strength and new crop losses Thursday night. This once again emphasizes the tightness of the old-crop situation, as well as broad expectations for much more prevalent supplies later this year. Actually, the late-morning (11:00 AM CDT) release of the USDA Grain Stocks and Acreage reports have direct implications for short and intermediate-term prospects. July corn futures rose 2.75 cents to $6.70/bushel in early Friday trading, while December slipped 1.0 cent to $5.375.

The soy complex moved generally higher in overnight trading. There was not a great deal of news Thursday night, although it would be easy to assume the supply tightness powering nearby soybeans and the meal market higher are still operative. Ultimately, sizeable numbers of traders on both sides of the market were almost surely squaring positions ahead of the USDA reports later this morning. We expect much more of the same prior to their 11:00 AM CDT release. July soybean futures edged 1.0 cent higher to $15.495/bushel just after dawn Friday, while July soyoil bounced 0.13 cents to 46.53 cents/pound, and July soymeal added $0.9 to $480.5/ton.

Wheat futures were also mixed in Friday morning electronic trading. As in corn, the nearby contracts were firm, whereas deferred futures declined modestly. That was rather surprising, especially since the winter the winter wheat harvest is now in full swing. One has to suspect the underlying tightness of the U.S. crop/feed situation is supporting wheat. Short-covering may also be supporting nearby futures ahead of the late morning reports. September CBOT wheat gained 3.0 cents to $6.7675/bushel early Friday morning, and September KCBT wheat inched up 1.0 cent to $7.03, while September MGE futures were unchanged at $7.83.

Cattle futures set back from midweek gains early Friday morning. Traders have been thinking the usual mid-year price decline has run its course and are probably hoping for higher cash prices to finish this week. They were supported somewhat by stronger wholesale prices Thursday. However, the overnight slippage suggests bulls are not on firm ground just yet. August cattle dipped 0.05 cents to 122.87 cents/pound in early Friday electronic action, while December slid 0.15 cents at 128.00. Feeder futures were mixed; the August contract advanced 0.20 cents to 149.90 cents/pound, whereas November skidded 0.22 cents to 154.45.

The Thursday afternoon pork reversal could depress hog futures Friday. Although seasonal history and declining cash prices have seemingly boded ill for the short-term hog outlook, spiking wholesale values have boosted CME swine futures lately. However, that may be changing, since a big reversal in pork belly prices undermined carcass values Thursday afternoon. If the decline continues, futures might easily accompany the wholesale market lower. August hog futures sank 0.02 cents to 99.37 cents/pound early this morning, while the December contract dropped 0.40 to 83.30.

Sustained equity market gains likely supported cotton futures again Thursday night. The expiring July future dipped, but it is essentially in a world of its own as it goes through the delivery process. We suspect short positions holders are also actively exiting the deferred contracts ahead of the acreage report later this morning. October cotton rallied 0.14 cents to 86.27 cents/pound in early New York trading, while December added 0.66 cents to 84.54.



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