Commodity Futures File by Alex Breitinger http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/ en-us Oil Booms on OPEC Cuts http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67768 After months of wrangling, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced that its members had agreed to collectively reduce oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (-3.6%). This announcement, made early Wednesday morning, started the biggest one-day rally in nearly a year and rocketed prices back over $51 per barrel. Despite the market’s initial reaction, some are skeptical that the individual countries will each follow through with their promise to cut;... Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:53:34 -0500 Give Thanks for Low Food Prices http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67704 As Americans give thanks this year, they should include lower food prices in their list of blessings. A record-breaking corn and soybean harvest and large global supplies of wheat have helped pull grain prices to multi-year lows, making most foods less expensive this season. Low-cost grain especially helps lessen the price of most animal products, as livestock are widely fed a diet of corn and soybeans. Cattle, hog, and milk futures all recently dropped to the cheapest price in years.... Thu, 24 Nov 2016 16:56:06 -0500 Turmoil Follows Trump Triumph http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67609 This week marked one of the wildest and highest-volume trading periods in US history, with booms and busts surrounding Tuesday night’s election results. In the first few hours of vote counts, Wall Street boomed on the expectation that Hilary Clinton had strong results in exit polling, which was followed by a fierce collapse in stocks and explosion in gold once early vote tallies showed an extremely close race. Late Tuesday night, before any swing states had been called, Dow futures... Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:14:48 -0500 Election Presents Golden Opportunity http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67551 As Election Day nears, markets are on edge, as there is increasing uncertainty about Tuesday’s results. Polls are suggesting that more than a dozen states could be in play this year for the presidential race, while numerous Senate races are hotly contested, leaving the balance of power there up for grabs as well. Worries about the future direction of taxes, spending, trade and other policies has led investors to pull out of stocks in favor of gold and silver, which many perceive as a... Fri, 04 Nov 2016 13:17:48 -0400 Oil Market Slides Down http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67480 Less than a month after OPEC announced a plan to collectively reduce oil production to boost prices, it appears that the deal may be falling apart. Originally, all 14 member nations and Russia had agreed to work together to reduce production, but now nations are asking for exemptions from the pact. Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, and Libya have all suggested that they should be able to produce at current levels while the other nations cut back, which could lead to squabbling amongst member... Fri, 28 Oct 2016 13:35:03 -0400 Beef Bounces Back http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67411 Cattle prices exploded this week, rebounding from a six-year low. Prices rose by more than 5.5 cents per pound, “locking limit up” at one point on Thursday, as the market moved the daily maximum of 3 cents per pound. The market was especially active Friday after the market resumed trading as ranchers, meatpackers, and traders positioned themselves ahead of the USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed Report, which was released after the market closed. Cheap boneless beef is... Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:26:37 -0400 Corn Rallies, Despite Record Harvest http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67353 Corn prices topped $3.58 per bushel on Friday morning, the highest price in almost three months. Corn is accelerating higher, even as a record crop is coming in out of the field. Over a third of the corn crop has already been harvested, and the USDA is expecting that it will be the largest on record, topping 15 billion bushels. Normally, the harvest onslaught would be depressing prices, but farmers have been holding onto their corn, waiting to sell at higher prices. This is... Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:02:44 -0400 Sugar Rushes Higher on Global Shortfall http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67188 Sugar prices exploded this week, pushing over 23 cents per pound, the highest level in over four years. Prices have more than doubled during the last year as a global sugar shortfall looms after two years of disappointing harvests. Sugar is produced around the world, extracted from sugarcane in tropical climates and sugar beets in higher latitudes, but almost half of all sugar production comes from just three countries: Brazil, India, and Thailand. All three nations’ sugarcane... Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:09:26 -0400 Gasoline Explodes after Pipe Leak http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67131 Gasoline prices spiked this week after the Colonial Pipeline was shut down, closing off nearly 40% of the gasoline supply to 13 states running from Alabama to New York. The leaking pipeline, which serves over 50 million Americans, may not be fully functional until next week, which is prompting fears of gasoline shortages on the East Coast. Gasoline futures, which represent the price of the fuel at a major hub in the New York harbor, without taxes and other costs included, jumped by more... Fri, 16 Sep 2016 13:37:20 -0400 Oil Swings on Supply Shocks http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/67066 Crude oil staged a huge rally throughout the week as OPEC members talked again about cutting production to prop prices upward toward $60 per barrel. The oil cartel has been unsuccessful thus far, but collaboration between its members could shock the global oil market higher. The U.S. Department of Energy fueled the run up by reporting on Thursday morning that U.S. petroleum inventories unexpectedly tumbled by more than 14 million barrels, which helped boost prices to $47.75 per... Fri, 09 Sep 2016 15:31:49 -0400 Housing Hoists Lumber Higher http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66952 Sales of new homes exploded last month to the highest level since 2007. The US Census Bureau estimated that a seasonally-adjusted 654,000 new homes sold in July, a jump of over 30% in the last year. More active homebuyers have begun cutting into the inventories for existing homes, pushing prices higher across the board and incentivizing construction crews to hammer out more new homes to meet demand. This wave of construction has helped to boost lumber prices, which are up by more than a... Fri, 26 Aug 2016 15:31:00 -0400 Gasoline Revs Up http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66885 In just over a week, gas prices have exploded more than 20 cents per gallon higher, a staggering move that could soon hit drivers at the pump. Gasoline is becoming more expensive as the overwhelming glut of oil and gasoline in the U.S. wanes in the face of higher demand. The U.S. economy continues to show signs of strength, which should allow Americans to travel more and boost industrial demand for energy. Meanwhile, OPEC nations and Russia are continuing to suggest that they may work... Fri, 19 Aug 2016 14:11:48 -0400 Corn & Bean Crops Shatter Records http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66790 The USDA shocked grain markets Friday with its newest outlook for the corn and soybeans crops that are getting ready to be harvested. The government agency is now projecting record-breaking yields for corn at 175.1 bushels per acre and soybeans at 48.9 bushels per acre. If these projections come true this fall, the corn and soybean crops will be the largest in US history, adding to the global surplus of grain. While record yields are a point of pride for the agricultural industry, the... Fri, 12 Aug 2016 13:22:53 -0400 Natural Gas Rises http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66680 Natural gas sprang to life this week, jumping up by 21 cents on Thursday. The increase in natural gas stockpiles was only 17 billion cubic feet, which is the smallest increase in summertime for the last ten years. One of the reasons for the small increase was the fact that the eastern seaboard has been having unusually hot weather. More people have been running their air conditioners to combat the heat, so more natural gas is being used to power the AC. The reduced stockpile has some... Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:54:35 -0400 Bad Week in Corn and Beans http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66615 Farmers and traders were anxious about the "heat dome" that hit the Midwest earlier this week. Both crops are at a critical stage, and high temperatures now can drastically reduce crop yields. Even though one might expect the prices for corn and beans to rise due to the heat, the opposite occurred. The drop was caused by a much shorter heat wave than meteorologists originally forecasted, combined with forecasts for less extreme temperatures and more rainfall in the coming weeks. The "threat"... Fri, 22 Jul 2016 13:08:29 -0400 Bargain Barbecue http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66541 Pork prices are dropping due to record pork and poultry production this year, bringing backyard barbecues to the cheapest level of the summer. While low prices are making it difficult for livestock producers to turn a profit, they are still benefitting from low corn prices, near $3.55 per bushel on Friday. It appears that pork prices could keep falling. Hogs are already cheap at 80 cents per pound, but futures markets are priced under 60 cents by December, which means that Christmas... Fri, 15 Jul 2016 13:24:41 -0400 Gasoline Market Gutted http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66477 As Americans enjoyed the Independence Day holiday last weekend, they likely noticed lower gasoline prices as they fueled up their cars and boats. US refineries have been running near full speed for months, making more gasoline than drivers are using. This led to all-time high gasoline stockpiles, nearly 10% higher than last year. Even if refineries slow down, some analysts expect that prices could stay lower for the foreseeable future as crude oil stockpiles are at record high levels as... Fri, 08 Jul 2016 14:27:18 -0400 Silver Sparkles, Gold Booms http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66412 In a major move akin to the past inflationary displays, the price of gold and silver exploded this week as investors, hedgers, and speculators rushed to jump on the precious metals train as prices blew over the highs of last year. Concerns about political and financial stability dominated the news after the British referendum to exit from the European Union. There has also been growing doubt that near-zero and negative interest rates will solve the problems of massive unfunded government... Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:53:05 -0400 'Brexit' Reaches Breaking Point http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66291 The United Kingdom could be breaking away from the European Union in the near future, depending on the outcome of a vote next week. The June 23 referendum could set the stage for a British exit, or "Brexit," from the EU, putting strain on their respective economies and creating political turmoil on both sides of the English Channel. Earlier this week, it appeared increasingly likely that the British citizens were going to vote to leave the EU, which was causing investors to flee out of... Fri, 17 Jun 2016 13:09:58 -0400 Florida's OJ not so Sunny http://www.bannergraphic.com/blogs/1500/entry/66233 Orange juice futures hit a four-year high after Tropical Storm Colin tore across Florida. June 1 marked the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, and three named storms have already struck this year, worrying citrus growers in America's most hurricane-prone state. This week, Colin dumped heavy rains on citrus groves, damaging fruit and threatening to further crimp Florida's crop. Florida's groves are already being devastated by a tree-killing disease, and the USDA projects this year's... Fri, 10 Jun 2016 13:36:20 -0400