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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015
Thermometers Drop, Heating Fuels Pop
Posted Friday, February 20, at 1:56 PM
The eastern half of the US plunged into a deep freeze this week, forcing homeowners to crank up the heat. As furnaces ran full speed, so too did demand for heating oil and natural gas, the two most used heating fuels in the US. Natural gas prices have rallied more than 40 cents per million BTUs in the last two weeks, a 16% jump to $2.98 on Friday. Even more dramatically, heating oil has exploded over 50 cents per gallon (+33%) higher, touching $2.13 per gallon on Friday...

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Pits Close, End of an Era
Posted Friday, February 13, at 3:20 PM

The world's most famous and busiest commodity trading pits in Chicago and New York will close later this year, per an announcement from the CME Group earlier this week. For over 150 years, colorful traders crowded together to buy and sell commodities with a combination of shouting and hand signals, but the pits have largely gone quiet in recent years. ...

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Is a Crude Bottom Forming?
Posted Friday, February 6, at 1:20 PM

Despite countless stories of lower earnings, strikes, layoffs and bankruptcies throughout the oil industry, a growing group of adventuresome speculators have been quietly buying crude oil as it dipped below $48 per barrel this week. While going against the crowd that now believes petroleum prices will go down "forever," they note a stunning drop in new oil wells and increasing demand for cheap gasoline and heating oil. ...

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Global Turmoil Roils Commodities
Posted Friday, January 30, at 1:54 PM

Foreign currencies, crude oil, and other markets felt shocks this week as momentous changes came in foreign lands, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Greece. Crude oil prices dropped to a fresh five-year low this week, breaking under $44 per barrel. Plunging petroleum is putting pressure on Russia, which is dependent on oil prices closer to $100 to balance its budget...

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Everything's Cheaper!
Posted Friday, January 23, at 4:27 PM

Falling commodities prices, foreign currency values, and interest rates combined to make life less expensive for Americans this week. Lower household expenses are especially welcome after recent reports showed that Americans' take-home pay hasn't been rising in the past few months...

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Swiss Bank on the Franc
Posted Friday, January 16, at 1:08 PM

Early Thursday morning, the Swiss National Bank shocked currency traders by letting the Swiss franc move on its own, which allowed the largest one-day move in the currency's modern history, rising from $0.98 to $1.22 in under a half hour. This massive move caused turmoil among currency investors, bringing riches to those who banked on the franc and bankrupting those that bet against the Swiss...

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Market Drivers in 2015
Posted Friday, January 2, at 2:36 PM

As traders and investors returned to work after the New Year's Holiday, they began pondering the big questions for 2015. When will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates? Will turmoil in Eastern Europe and the Middle East stabilize or worsen? Low energy prices reigned in 2014, but can they stay low? This week, we take a look at these major issues and how they'll affect commodities...

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2015: A Year of Rising Commodities Demand?
Posted Friday, December 26, at 3:24 PM

2014 saw staggering drops in numerous commodities, hurting producers of the raw materials. As a result, analysts are expecting newfound demand to arise in 2015 as bargain hunters and investors take advantage of deep discounts. Energy markets fell precipitously in 2014, with gasoline, natural gas, and crude oil all at multiyear lows in late December. ...

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Ruble Turns to Rubble
Posted Friday, December 19, at 3:35 PM

Russia's currency, the ruble, collapsed in value this week, falling to an all-time low against the US dollar. Over the last six months, the currency has lost more than half its value as Russia's economy slides into recession under the weight of international sanctions stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine...

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Corn Prices Sweeten
Posted Sunday, December 14, at 5:32 PM

As farmers harvested the largest corn crop in history this fall, prices fell to a five-year low, nearing $3.00 per bushel. Since then, bargain hunters swooped in, helping prices to bounce back, a welcome change for farmers. Buyers were emboldened by a USDA report this week that showed a tighter global supply picture, primarily due to increased demand from end users like ethanol producers and poultry feeders. ...

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China on the Rise
Posted Friday, December 5, at 2:20 PM

Global traders got another reminder this week that China is on the rise, as a new report from the International Monetary Fund showed that China's economy has surpassed the US by a metric known as purchasing power parity. Although not the primary model watched by economists, PPP adjusts for price differences between countries, essentially giving China credit for its cheaper cost of living...

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OPEC Swamps Crude Prices
Posted Friday, November 28, at 6:03 PM

Crude oil prices collapsed to a four-year low on Thanksgiving Day, dropping as low as $67.75 per barrel after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to leave production targets unchanged at their most recent meeting. Analysts had been expecting OPEC members, who produce about a third of the world's oil, to reduce their petroleum output in an effort to remove supply and stabilize prices...

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Drivers Warm to Cheap Gasoline
Posted Friday, November 21, at 12:05 PM

As motorists fuel up for their annual trip to grandmother's house, they're likely to be thankful for the cheapest gas in more than four years. With gasoline futures trading near $2.01 per gallon on Friday, nationwide prices at the pump (which include taxes, delivery costs, and other expenses) are well under $3.00 per gallon in most parts of the country...

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Cold Snap causes Flurry in Commodities
Posted Friday, November 14, at 2:48 PM

As many Americans are bunkering down while temperatures drop, commodities traders are watching markets heat up. Exceptionally cold temperatures, especially when they occur at unusual times, can cause rapid movements in a number of markets. Extreme weather can damage plants, affect livestock's appetites, and even halt trucks, trains, and barges...

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Dropping Oil Pressures Producers
Posted Friday, November 7, at 4:13 PM

Crude oil's collapse continued this week, with prices nearing $75 per barrel, the lowest level in over three years. Prices are dropping as US domestic oil production continues to expand and slowing global economies are reducing demand for petroleum...

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Low Gas Prices are a Treat
Posted Friday, October 31, at 2:40 PM

Gasoline prices are tumbling, scaring refiners, but giving a welcome treat to drivers. According to government data, many retail markets are seeing prices comfortably under $3.00 per gallon for the first time in almost four years. Reasons include record US oil production, infighting among Middle Eastern oil producers, improved fuel efficiency, and a typical dip in gasoline demand after the busy summer driving season...

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Lower Heating Costs Loom
Posted Friday, October 24, at 3:10 PM

Natural gas prices are nearing one-year lows as US production continues at a breakneck pace, building supplies ahead of winter. Last year's unusually cold and long winter drained US gas inventories to a ten-year low, which buoyed prices near $6.50 last February. ...

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What is Deflation?
Posted Friday, October 17, at 1:34 PM

During wild price swings many recall, understand, and fear inflation as an insidious threat to our buying power as the paper dollars in our wallets buy less and less as prices go up. But what happens if prices go down? Some economists fear that our economy, based heavily on debt, could implode much like it did during the Great Depression. ...

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Big Crops get Bigger
Posted Friday, October 3, at 5:15 PM

Corn prices dove to a five-year low this week, driven lower by heavy supplies of the grain. On Tuesday, the USDA released its quarterly grain stockpile report, showing a whopping 1.236 billion bushels of corn leftover from last year. Meanwhile, as farmers begin harvesting this year's crop, conditions are better than had been anticipated, indicating that this year's record-breaking crop is likely larger than previously thought, seemingly confirming an old trader's adage "big crops get bigger, small crops get smaller.". ...

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Scotland Sends British Pound Reeling
Posted Sunday, September 14, at 5:21 PM

The British currency, the pound sterling, has collapsed in recent weeks ahead of a vote that could separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Scotland has been joined with England for over 300 years, but recently there have been increasing calls for Scottish independence...

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Commodity Futures File
Alex Breitinger
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Alex Breitinger, a 2009 graduate of DePauw University, is a commodity futures broker with Breitinger & Sons, LLC in Valparaiso. He can be reached at 800-411-FUTURES (3888) or online at www.indianafutures.com.
Hot topics
Thermometers Drop, Heating Fuels Pop
(0 ~ 12:56 PM, Feb 20)

Pits Close, End of an Era
(0 ~ 2:20 PM, Feb 13)

Is a Crude Bottom Forming?
(0 ~ 12:21 PM, Feb 6)

Global Turmoil Roils Commodities
(0 ~ 12:54 PM, Jan 30)

Everything's Cheaper!
(0 ~ 3:28 PM, Jan 23)