Market Summary: Cotton Unraveling

U.S. lean hog futures ended higher, shrugging off the weaker cattle prices and macroeconomic pressure. April lean hogs ended up 22 to 90.42, the May contract gained 32 to close at 98.55.

U.S. live cattle futures slipped Friday, ending lower on profit-taking after recent gains and pressure from crude oil. April live cattle ended down 1 t at $129, while March feeder cattle fell 47 to $158.

US wheat futures rallied amid short-covering and strength in soybeans. March wheat in Chicago ended up 11 1/2 at $6.70, and March wheat in KC gained 13 ½ to close at $7.10.

US corn futures ended mixed Friday, with spillover support from higher soy and wheat futures offsetting profit taking pressure. May corn ended up 1 at $6.55.

US soy futures rallied for the tenth consecutive trading day, fueled by expectations smaller South American crops are generating more US export demand, Soy-product futures ended mixed. May soybeans ended up 10 1/2 at $13.33, May soy meal ended up $3.60 at $359.10 while May soy oil dropped 19 to 54.08.

The cotton market is about to lose its security blanket. Top cotton importer China said Friday that its imports of the fiber will decline by as much as 25% this year due to an increase in home-grown supplies. China's purchases of cotton over the past five months have helped prop up futures prices, but with lower forecast demand, the market is unraveling. March cotton fell 100 to close at 87.46, and the May contract dropped 144 to close at 88.23.

Gold futures fell to their lowest price in five weeks on Friday, capping the largest weekly decline since December as investors bet that potentially dollar-bashing stimulus from the Federal Reserve wasn't coming any time soon. April gold fell $12.40 to $1,709.80 an ounce, May Silver slid $1.13, to $34.52.

Oil futures retreated 2% Friday as fears of a supply disruption in Saudi Arabia eased and broader markets pulled back. April crude fell $2.14 to $106.70 a barrel, April gasoline dropped 7.96 cents to $3.27 a gallon, and April fell 7.35 cents to $3.20 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures settled modestly higher Friday, with gains attributed to fuel switching by utilities. April natural gas gained 2.1 cents to $2.48.

The S&P and Nasdaq notched their eighth week of gains out of the last nine, but momentum ran out on Friday as stocks ended the day lower in a thinly traded session. Energy shares were the big losers in the broad decline, falling alongside crude oil prices. The Dow ended the week at 12,977, down 2, the Nasdaq fell 12 ¾ to close at 2,976, and the S&P500 fell 4 ½ to close at 1,369. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.