U.S. grain and soybean futures closed higher on Friday due to inclement weather in key world crop-growing regions and uncertainty over global output. Corn prices climbed for the fourth time in five straight sessions as U.S. farmers prepared for cool, rainy weather in the Midwest over the weekend, which likely will limit planting progress.
Gains in the corn market were capped, however, by an outlook for drier U.S. weather next week, which should enable growers to resume spring planting.
Corn futures for delivery in May rose 3 1/4 cents, to $3.90 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.
Soybean prices gained amid continued uncertainty over Argentina’s crop, which has been hurt by excess rain and flooding this season. Prices for the oilseeds rallied this month as commodity funds grew optimistic over demand for the crop and established a net-long position in the market, though traders now are waiting for further evidence of crop losses in South America before pushing prices much higher.
CBOT May soybean futures climbed 3 centsto $10.21 a bushel.
Wheat prices posted gains, shored up in large part by declines in the U.S. dollar. The greenback fell 0.6% on Friday, according to the WSJ Dollar Index.
CBOT May wheat gained 2 1/2 cents, , to $4.78 a bushel.
Cattle futures climbed Friday, lifted by short covering after prices fell to the lowest levels in four months in the previous session.
April live-cattle futures trimmed earlier gains to advance 0.25 cent, or 0.2%, to $1.23 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, marking 1.3% drop on the week. Cattle for June rose 0.125 cent to $1.14 a pound. Feeder-cattle futures for May slid 0.15 cent at $1.40 a pound, the lowest closing price for a front-month contract in three years.
Weakness in the beef market this week has raised concerns that, despite a month-long slide in cattle and beef prices, packers and retailers are still reluctant to invest in supplies for burgers and steaks, even at discounted levels.
The pressure in futures has also weighed on prices producers have fetched for their cattle in the cash markets this week, with most deals reported at $1.24 a pound live.
The hog market, meanwhile, has been buoyed this week by signs of stout demand for pork by export buyers. Most-active hog futures for June picked up 0.925 cent to 81.70 cents a pound, the highest level for that contract in one month, and a 3.6% gain since last Friday’s close.