Grain, soy markets bucked large energy and metal losses Friday

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Corn futures continued their recent surge Friday. Nearby contracts seemed to be reacting to talk of old-crop supply tightness, while deferred futures were rallying on ideas that wet, cool weather will delay plantings substantially, thereby potentially reducing harvest potential and shifting acreage to soybeans. May corn had risen 7.75 cents to $6.585/bushel late Friday afternoon, while December gained 5.25 cents to $5.50.

Talk that the domestic soybean situation remains critically tight and might require demand rationing (via high prices) during the weeks and months just ahead reportedly boosted nearby bean futures Friday. Conversely, wet, cold weather is increasing the chances of significant acreage switches from corn to soybeans by late spring. That could substantially increase the fall harvest and depress prices. Thus, new crop prices are much weaker than nearby values. Meanwhile, sliding energy markets were apparently undercutting soybean oil. May soybeans closed 10.5 cents higher, at $14.13/bushel, Friday afternoon, while May soyoil fell 0.54 cents to 49.23 cents/pound, and May meal climbed $5.2 to $400.2/ton.

Wheat futures apparently rallied in response to weather issues Friday. Freezing Southern Plains temperatures over the past week apparently damaged significant portions of winter wheat fields in that region. Moreover, there is a significant chance of another cold snap over the Southern Plains next week. Cold, wet conditions may also hamper spring wheat seedings, especially in the Northern Plains. The latter point seemingly powered the Chicago and Minneapolis markets strongly higher. May CBOT wheat futures jumped 15.25 cents to $7.1475/bushel just before at its Friday settlement, while May KCBT wheat surged 14.25 cents to $7.53, and May MGE futures leapt 18.25 cents to $8.0775.

Cattle traders were apparently hoping for short-term cash firmness Friday, since the expiring April future rose moderately on the day. The deferred contracts rose only slightly. The modest discount built into the April future may imply the market is undervalued to some, but others with the cattle/beef market’s history of late-April weakness in mind are probably less sanguine. Feeder futures seemed to suffer from rising grain prices once again. June cattle rose 0.10 cents higher to 120.75 cents/pound at its Friday afternoon close, while December slipped 0.10 cents to 126.72. May feeder cattle futures dropped 0.85 cents to 140.92 cents/pound, and August sank 1.02 cents to 147.80.

Nearby hog futures were mixed Friday afternoon, with traders apparently holding differing opinions about the upside potential enjoyed by the hog and pork complex this spring. Bears probably have seen that has been particularly encouraging lately, but bulls are very likely banking upon warmer weather to boost consumer demand just when hog and pork production move toward their lowest levels of the year. The lightly traded May hog contract settled just 0.02 cents lower at 87.37 cents/pound Friday, while the June contract rallied 0.45 cents to 89.90.



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