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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
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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Russia Sows Discord in Wheat Market
Posted Friday, August 29, at 1:12 PM

This week, tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated again, as Russian troops and tanks reportedly invaded Ukraine. While US military involvement still seems unlikely, analysts believe that the situation is shifting toward a full-blown war, which could destabilize both nations and limit their ability to produce and export numerous commodities, especially wheat...

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Housing Hoists Lumber Prices
Posted Friday, August 22, at 2:43 PM

A slew of shockingly good housing data shook US markets this week, especially lumber. Reports showed that construction of new homes is rising from the post-recession doldrums and that sales of existing homes increased for the fourth straight month. Lumber, which is closely tied to the construction industry, has been rising with the restrengthening housing market, reaching a five-month high Friday at $355 per thousand board feet. ...

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Corn Climbs, Finally!
Posted Friday, August 15, at 1:54 PM

After being hammered lower for nearly six months, corn prices finally staged a modest recovery this week, providing a much needed opportunity for farmers to sell some of this year's huge crop. Though no threats to production (draughts, flooding, insects, or plant diseases) were revealed, higher demand supported the rally in corn. ...

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OJ Prices Squeezed Lower
Posted Friday, August 8, at 2:53 PM

The cost of a balanced breakfast continues to get cheaper as orange juice prices plummet. US demand for orange juice has fallen to the lowest level in over a decade as consumers snub OJ for other beverages, dropping prices near the lowest level for the year...

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Hogs Grind Lower
Posted Friday, August 1, at 2:50 PM

A hog virus ravaged the pork industry over the last year, killing off piglets and driving prices to record highs, but the virus is largely under control and farmers have begun vamping up pork production again. Even though the national herd is far smaller than previous years, the animals are much larger, averaging nearly twenty pounds heavier than usual for this time of year. ...

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Cattle Stampede Higher
Posted Friday, July 25, at 11:24 AM

Cattle futures shot into all-time highs again this week, reaching $1.58 per pound on Thursday. Prices continue to rise because of a shortage of animals stemming from the multiyear drought in the Great Plains that destroyed herds and their food sources. Ranchers have been unable to restore the beef supply quickly, since it can take over two years to breed, raise, and fatten cattle before they are market ready...

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Downed Jet Fuels Commodities Rise
Posted Friday, July 18, at 1:09 PM

Midday Thursday, a Malaysia Airlines flight crashed in Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard. Initial fears that the plane had been shot down were supported by intelligence agencies, sparking concerns that the crash could signal a deepening of the conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists. As global investors processed the news, they sold off stocks and bought commodities that could be in short supply if sanctions or increased military conflict followed the plane crash...

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Cattle Market Slaughtered
Posted Friday, July 11, at 1:23 PM

After making an all-time high early Monday morning, cattle prices reversed sharply lower as cattlemen began bringing cattle to the market to capture record high prices. Meanwhile, traders cashed in on huge profits, after riding the market higher for months. As prices dropped, ranchers and traders seemed to succumb to herd behavior, with aggressive selling leading to even more selling...

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Soy Market Swamped
Posted Friday, July 4, at 3:56 PM

Last Monday, the USDA released its newest estimate for planted acreage and grain stockpiles, and both showed vastly more soybeans than had been anticipated. The supply in the United States was nearly 4 billion bushels on June 1, nearly 40% more than was in storage last year. Meanwhile, in an effort to capture relatively high prices this year, farmers planted a record 84.8 million acres of beans, far above the USDA's last estimate of 81.5 million acres...

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US Crude Flows Abroad
Posted Sunday, June 29, at 4:16 PM

News that the Obama administration is paving the way for an increase in oil exports for first time in nearly forty years provides more evidence of high production and ample supplies in North America. The complicated move, involving the Commerce Department and many technicalities may be more symbolic at this stage than an overall lifting of export bans, but has been heralded by some as a fundamental change in the US oil market policy...

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Gold Gets Boost from Fed
Posted Friday, June 20, at 5:45 PM

Gold charged to a two-month high this week, fueled by help from the Federal Reserve. Gold's rally started shortly after Fed chair Janet Yellen indicated that the Fed was likely to continue holding interest rates near record lows. Some market watchers had been expecting the Fed to start raising rates soon to head off inflationary risk...

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Crude Boils Higher
Posted Friday, June 13, at 3:11 PM

Crude oil prices exploded higher this week as the military conflict escalated in Iraq. Sunni militants have reportedly captured multiple major Iraqi cities and now threaten to take Baghdad, the capital. Meanwhile, as government troops were in full retreat, ethnic minority Kurdish troops took control of oil-rich Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq. ...

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Euro Goes Negative
Posted Friday, June 6, at 1:32 PM

Early Thursday morning, the European Central Bank announced that it was making an unprecedented move: lowering interest rates below zero. This means that banks will actually pay 0.1% for the privilege of having their money held by the ECB. For years now, the United States and Japan have paid near-zero interest to banks for depositing funds with the government, but Europe's move to charging banks is new territory for a major economy...

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Grains Get Crushed
Posted Friday, May 30, at 2:37 PM

Corn and wheat prices have been plummeting recently, an unwelcome sign for Midwestern farmers who have been busy planting corn and are preparing to harvest their winter wheat. Nearly 90% of this year's corn crop has already been planted, which is pulling prices lower as the young plants are off to a good start. Corn that will be harvested this fall is traded on the futures market as December corn, which fell to $4.59 per bushel on Friday, a three-month low...

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Crude Awakening for Markets
Posted Friday, May 23, at 1:01 PM

Crude oil prices gained sharply this week, hitting a one-month high after U.S. Energy Information Administration statistics showed a quick drawdown in supplies. In its weekly Petroleum Status Report, the EIA stated that U.S. crude oil inventories slid by 7.23 million barrels, a 1.8% drop in one week...

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Corn Down on Farmer Selling
Posted Friday, May 16, at 12:29 PM

Corn prices are plummeting as farmers across the Midwest race to plant this year's crop. It is widely expected that 70% of the corn crop will be planted by this weekend, which helped to confirm the market's expectations for another large harvest of the grain this fall. As a result, prices fell over 20 cents per bushel during the week...

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Natural Gas Losing Steam
Posted Friday, May 9, at 8:43 PM

This winter, natural gas prices hit a five-year high at $6.49 per million British thermal units, charging higher due to extreme cold weather across much of the country. This year's long and harsh winter increased natural gas heating demand, which drew gas inventories to the lowest level in over a decade...

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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
What is Deflation?
(0 ~ 12:34 PM, Oct 17)

Big Crops get Bigger
(0 ~ 4:15 PM, Oct 3)

Scotland Sends British Pound Reeling
(0 ~ 4:21 PM, Sep 14)

Russia Sows Discord in Wheat Market
(0 ~ 12:12 PM, Aug 29)

Housing Hoists Lumber Prices
(0 ~ 1:43 PM, Aug 22)