U.S. grain and soybean futures advanced Friday as traders squared positions ahead of an upcoming government report and as optimism grew over demand for some crops.
Soybeans jumped to a two-week high, rising in part thanks to increasing demand for U.S. supplies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday said private exporters had booked sales of 132,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to China during the 2015-16 season, a welcome sign of interest that comes as foreign commitments to purchase new-crop supplies trail behind last year’s pace.
Prices for the oilseeds also climbed as traders and investors evened up positions ahead of a closely watched crop report due out next week.
Soybeans for August delivery rose 23 1/2 cents, or 2.4%, to $10.09 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest closing price since July 23.
Corn prices gained amid anticipation the USDA in its monthly crop report will lower projections for grain production and yields. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal also expect the government to reduce its outlook for corn stockpiles next year.
CBOT September corn gained 3 cents, or 0.8%, to $3.72 3/4 a bushel.
Wheat prices also rose to a nearly two-week high, buoyed by strength and nearby markets and a lower U.S. dollar.
CBOT September wheat added 3 1/2 cents, or 0.7%, to $5.10 1/2 a bushel, the highest settlement price since July 28.
-U.S. cattle futures eased Friday, pressured by profit-taking after hopes for strengthening demand for red meat sent prices sharply higher this week.
August live-cattle futures fell 0.15 cent, or 0.1%, to $1.49575 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after hitting the highest levels since early July the previous session, and marking a 2.7% increase on the week. Most-active live-cattle for October shed 0.325 cent to $1.48525 a pound. Feeder-cattle futures for August dipped 0.85 cent to $2.14125 a pound, up 1.6% from last week’s closing price.
The cattle market this week climbed to its highest levels in a month as traders bet that the steep drop in livestock and meat prices last month has encouraged bargain-hunting buyers to jump off the sidelines. Friday, traders booked profits on the recent uptick, scaling back bets on a continued rally while awaiting trade in the cash markets.
Last week, producers fetched prices ranging from $1.47 to $1.49 a pound live in major cattle feeding regions for available animals, and some analysts contend owners could fetch steady or even higher prices for available livestock throughout the day. So far, producers are asking for $1.52 a pound live for a smaller number of available cattle this week compared with last, though bids from processors have been sparse.
This summer, margins for processing beef have been thin or negative for most plants, due in part to the high cost of cattle relative to wholesale steaks, chucks, and other cuts, which market watchers said could be restraining bids from packers on Friday.
Hog futures ended the session narrowly lower as traders worked to align that issue with recent prices paid in the cash markets, where supplies have been abundant. Cash and futures tend to converge near the front-month contract’s expiration, which takes place in one week.
August hog futures shed 0.75 cent to 77.325 cents a pound, a 1.5% decline on the week. October hogs reversed early session gains to fall 0.325 cent to 64.125 cents a pound.