Commodity Futures File by Alex Breitinger en-us Wheat Prices Wither After climbing to seven-month highs earlier this month, wheat prices have crumbled by nearly 10%. The market had exploded higher on drought concerns in the Great Plains, where much of the American wheat crop is grown. Unfortunately for U.S. farmers, our foreign competitors aren&rsquo;t suffering from similar issues. Global wheat production is expected to rise by more than 5% this year, which will allow countries like Australia, Canada, and Russia to sell their crops at cheaper prices... Fri, 16 Mar 2018 13:24:09 -0400 Corn Market Pops Corn prices burst higher this week, reaching levels not seen since last summer. Prices have been climbing consistently for almost two months as concerns mount about weather problems in South America affecting the upcoming corn harvest in Brazil and Argentina. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its estimates, cutting the crop size again from both countries. Brazil and Argentina are two of the world&rsquo;s largest grain growers and major competitors for U.S. exports.... Fri, 09 Mar 2018 13:24:12 -0500 Trump Tariffs Tank Markets On Thursday, President Trump shocked global markets by announcing steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The President cited national security concerns and a desire to support domestic industries as the driving forces behind the tariffs. The affected metals rose sharply, as the 10% tariff on aluminum and 25% tax on imported steel will increase the cost of foreign commodities, while domestic producers will likely raise their own prices to increase profits. This resulted in aluminum... Fri, 02 Mar 2018 16:03:01 -0500 Stock Bears Win Big U.S. stock markets plunged, then surged, and then plunged again this week, in a wild whipsaw that left market watchers breathless. The selloff has largely been attributed to fears about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, a move that could hurt corporations&rsquo; profits, but much of the trading action was caused by complacency. After nearly a decade of climbing markets and two years without a correction, Wall Street traders made massive bets that the market would continue quietly... Fri, 09 Feb 2018 14:12:54 -0500 Wheat Market Rises Wheat prices exploded higher this week as concerns mounted about dry conditions in the southern Great Plains. The hard red winter wheat crop in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas is in increasingly dire straits, with only 14% in good or excellent condition, according to a recent USDA report. This caused Kansas City wheat futures to rise over $4.70 per bushel for the first time since August, and led to the highest one-day trading volume in history for the contract. While the poor conditions are... Fri, 02 Feb 2018 13:24:03 -0500 Downward Dollar Makes Heyday for Traders The U.S. dollar crumbled on Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested that a weaker U.S. dollar would benefit the U.S. economy. In the aftermath of the comment, the U.S. dollar reached a three-year low against its major trading partners. By Friday, both Mnuchin and President Trump stated that Mnuchin&rsquo;s comments were misinterpreted, but currency investors were shaken by the comments and continued to sell the U.S. dollar. For exporters of U.S. goods like... Fri, 26 Jan 2018 14:38:42 -0500 Florida Freeze Threatens OJ As bitterly cold temperatures descended across the U.S. this week, even the Sunshine State felt the chill. Temperatures dropped below freezing across much of Central Florida on Wednesday and Thursday night, threatening the state&rsquo;s crops. Growers attempted to protect their plants by spraying them with water, forming a protective cocoon of ice, but temperatures as low as 25 degrees may have damaged their oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, and other crops. Futures markets on... Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:43:26 -0500 Milk Market Frothy U.S. milk futures are nearing a nine-month high, with prices approaching 17 cents per pound. For U.S. dairy farmers, low-cost corn and soybeans, along with high-value milk, present a golden opportunity, but trouble may be lurking around the corner. Global dairy prices have fallen to an eight-month low, which could ultimately drain U.S. prices lower as low-cost dairy from foreign markets undercut U.S. products. The world&rsquo;s largest dairy exporter is the island nation of New... Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:33:43 -0500 Bitcoin Futures on the Way The Chicago Mercantile Exchange made a surprise announcement this week that it would begin listing a contract on bitcoin futures, giving more credibility to the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, which is not controlled by any singular government, has seen increasing interest as an alternative to paper currencies or precious metals. Some of its appeal lies in its lack of control by governments, which also allows owners to use it with less oversight than traditional payment methods. Many in the... Fri, 03 Nov 2017 14:38:48 -0400 OJ Squeezes Higher, Coffee Spills Lower This week, orange juice prices flowed to a six-month high, while jitters about coffee sank that market near a three-month low. Frozen concentrated orange juice futures exploded after a USDA report on Thursday confirmed that Florida&rsquo;s orange groves are in serious trouble. The USDA is projecting the smallest crop in 71 years after Hurricane Irma devastated a crop that was already reeling from the citrus greening disease. Some private forecasters are expecting that the crop is another... Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:02:57 -0400 Oil Drops as Nate Advances Crude oil prices fell sharply this week amidst ongoing concerns about a glut of U.S. crude oil that could get worse if refineries are affected by Tropical Storm Nate. The storm is projected to travel northward through the Gulf of Mexico and hit Louisiana, potentially crossing paths with dozens of refineries. While Nate is expected to be far smaller than Hurricane Harvey, Harvey&rsquo;s drastic impact on the petroleum industry loom large. Markets fear that refinery shutdowns could lead to a... Sun, 08 Oct 2017 21:57:00 -0400 Say Goodbye to 0% Interest Rates The Federal Reserve announced this week that it was going to begin the process of unwinding its unprecedented stimulus packages implemented during the last decade. After the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed began accumulating a massive portfolio of mortgages and Treasury bonds to lower interest rates and thereby stimulate the economy. The Fed was successful in driving interest rates near zero, but now it wants to allow rates to rise again, which is leading the Fed to begin selling off its... Fri, 22 Sep 2017 21:08:57 -0400 Florida Oranges Decimated As Hurricane Irma swept through Florida, it brought high winds, tornadoes, drenching rain, and flooding, damaging property across the Sunshine State. The loss of life and property were substantial, but damage was not as severe as feared before the storm made landfall. Among those devastated by Irma were Florida&rsquo;s orange growers, who are already suffering from the malaise of citrus greening, a disease that has reduced production by 70% over the last decade. The storm may have... Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:38:39 -0400 Hurricane Markets Hurricanes hitting the Southeast U.S. have typically caused extreme swings in commodity markets as they attempt to assess threats and damage to the natural resources that we depend on for our food, fuel, clothing, and shelter. <b>Citrus Crops</b> &ndash; The southern half of Florida is famous for serving as a center of citrus production. Consequently, OJ prices virtually exploded all week with frozen juice for November delivery running from $1.30 per pound just before Labor Day... Fri, 08 Sep 2017 13:37:58 -0400 Hurricane Harvey Hits Texas On Thursday, the National Weather Service reported Tropical Storm Harvey had quickly developed into a major hurricane and was aiming for Texas. Expected to reach Category 3, Harvey could be the worst storm to threaten Texas in decades, posing a grave risk to millions of people and homes. The storm could also damage or shut down oil rigs and refineries on the Gulf Coast and inland where the storm was projected to hit land. As traders watched projections predicting winds exceeding 125... Fri, 25 Aug 2017 13:28:35 -0400 Corn Can’t Pop Corn prices continued lower this week, dropping underneath $3.50 per bushel for the first time this year after the USDA showed improving corn crop quality on Monday. The USDA was already projecting an ample 14.2 billion bushel crop, and improving quality could boost the crop size to the second-largest ever. Southern states have begun harvesting this year&rsquo;s crop and are reporting high yields. However, many private forecasters fear that the crop is in worse shape in Midwestern... Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:00:51 -0400 ‘Fire and Fury’ Unleashed on Gold & Stocks A war of words between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un spooked global investors this week. On Tuesday, President Trump warned that the United States would unleash &ldquo;fire and fury&rdquo; on North Korea if it made further threats on the United States. Kim Jong-un responded by threatening to bomb the U.S. island of Guam. On Friday morning, President Trump doubled down, stating that the U.S. has prepared military solutions and are &ldquo;locked and ready.&rdquo;... Fri, 11 Aug 2017 13:55:39 -0400 Weedkiller Causes War Farmers are facing a superweed and a super problem dealing with it. The terror, known as pigweed, grows rapidly and produces over 100,000 seeds, allowing it to spread like wildfire, sapping crops of much-needed sunlight, water, and nutrients. Worse yet, pigweed has grown resistant to most common herbicides and often needs to be removed by hand, a time-consuming and expensive prospect for farmers who have hundreds or thousands of acres infested with the weed. Pigweed is susceptible to a... Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:18:55 -0400 Lumber Market on Fire The lumber market roared near a three-month high this week as wildfires threatened forests and sawmills in British Columbia. There are nearly 400 wildfires ablaze in the Canadian province which is one of the world&rsquo;s largest exporters of softwood lumber. Lumber futures, traded in Chicago, neared $395 per thousand board feet, the highest price since late April, when the market exploded on threats of a trade war between Canada and the United States. At present, the fires are... Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:52:05 -0400 Grains Take a Nosedive For the past two weeks, grain markets had been exploding higher on fears of hot and dry weather in the forecast, which could threaten this year&rsquo;s crop yields. But on Wednesday, the USDA stunned markets lower with a revised outlook for this year&rsquo;s corn, wheat, and soybean crops, raising estimates for global stockpiles of the three major commodities. The report served as a reminder that global harvests should replace any U.S. production losses, forcing the markets quickly... Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:20:52 -0400