Commodities prices are tumbling, with gold leading the way down this week. Prices fell to a five-year low, with August gold futures worth a mere $1080 per ounce on Friday.
Prices are falling as investors dump the metal in favor of stocks, bonds, or cash, which they see as a better short-term investment. Gold is losing its luster as the Greek crisis has quieted and the US economy is looking increasingly strong; on Thursday, the US government reported the lowest weekly jobless claims in over 40 years.
Longer term, there are increasing expectations that the US Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates this year after eight years of falling or flat rates, which has been dampening investment interest in gold. Many would-be gold buyers seek the metal as protection against inflation, but higher interest rates could prevent prices from rising.
Alongside gold's collapse, other metals like silver, copper, and platinum fell hard, creating a bonanza for bargain-hunters.
Eggs Crack into New Highs
Egg prices are soaring to new high values after an outbreak of H5N2 avian influenza killed over 35 million egg-laying hens this year. A dozen eggs now costs nearly $2.50, a sharp jump of nearly 50% this year.
The disease, which is not expected to affect the human population, has also killed over 10 million turkeys and chickens raised for meat. Overall, it has predominantly struck egg-laying hens, causing the price of eggs to explode in comparison to chicken. For the first time in recent history, chicken is now a cheaper source of protein than eggs, which may force restaurants to consider menu changes.
Summer weather reduces the virus' ability to spread, but immunologists warn that the disease could cause a flurry again this fall once temperature drop, potentially leading to a worse crisis and more expensive breakfast options.
For US grain farmers, shrinking poultry flocks could hurt demand for corn and soybeans, putting pressure on prices.