**** A wild day in the grain markets on Friday! Most contracts closed higher, although corn and soybean contracts were well off the highs of the day. Wheat stayed strong through the close, finishing in double digits in all contracts.
Weather has been the driving force in this spark in grain prices. Friday saw more rain around Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, and the five-day forecast expects more moderate to heavy amounts through the eastern Midwest, followed by more chances in the extended forecast. Ongoing rains is especially of concern in the area of Missouri to Ohio, where five to ten inches of rain has fallen over the past 30 days and there is no sign of letting up yet.
Corn futures finished steady to 9 3/4 higher. The December corn contract closed 33 1/4 cents higher for the week with ongoing concerns about too much rain. The downtrend in corn has been broken and trading will likely be more volatile ahead as prices seek out a new, higher trading range.
Soybeans futures closed the July 15 to August 16 contracts 1 1/2 to 10 3/4 higher, further out deferred contracts, Sept 16 to March 17 closed 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 lower. The new-crop November contract closed 46 1/4 cents higher for the week, and like corn, was triggered by rain hammering the area of Missouri to Ohio. The rain in those areas have not allowed for the harvest of SRW wheat, which adds further difficulties to planting soybeans. The not too distant lower trend in soybeans, caused by the bearish fundamental outlook in 2015, has now caught up in one-way trading as noncommercials cover shorts and speculators jump in long.
Wheat futures bolstered higher and finished 11 3/4 to 30 1/4 higher. The sharply higher prices were influenced by excess rain on the SRW wheat crop, quality issues in the HRW wheat crop, and extremely dry conditions in the northwestern U.S. and western Canadian Prairies.
***** Livestock market floundered about on Friday, and finished with live cattle futures mixed, .15 lower to .10 higher; lean hogs futures were mostly higher with the exception of June 16 contract .05 lower. Other contracts were .20 to .80 higher.
Live cattle futures traded in a narrowly mixed range, as traders took a cautious stance to end the week. Additional and widespread price shifts could take place as traders focus on the month and second-quarter close.
Lean hog futures traded both sides of the market on Friday, with traders mixed on how Friday afternoon’s Quarterly hogs and pig report will shake out.
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