Harvest Pressures Grains
Grain prices plummeted this week as farmers harvested this year's crop at a record pace. Warm weather this past spring allowed farmers to get a jump start on planting, giving the crop an early start on development. Despite the damaging drought this summer, those plants that survived have continued to develop ahead of schedule, allowing farmers to get nearly a one-month jump on their usual harvest schedule.
By this weekend, nearly half of the nation's corn should be harvested and almost 20% of the soybeans, more than three times faster than the normal pace. As farmers harvested grain over the last week, many began selling their crop, pushing prices lower. During the week, corn prices crumbled 32 cents per bushel (-4.1%), and soybeans sank $1.19 /bu (-6.8%). The selling had calmed by Friday with corn and beans trading near $7.50 and $16.20, respectively.
Crude prices collapsed this week, falling nearly $10 per barrel from last week's highs. After pushing over $100 per barrel last week, crude prices came under attack on news that Saudi Arabia was going to increase oil production. Crude oil for October delivery fell as low as $90.66 on Thursday, down 8.4% during the week. Likewise, gasoline prices dropped as much as 27 cents from last week's high.
Despite this week's break, petroleum prices continue to remain relatively high due to ongoing concerns throughout the Middle East, as nations like Libya, Syria and Iran continue to be embroiled in conflicts that could stem the flow of crude oil from the Middle East to consumers around the world.
Metals Clamor Higher
Precious metals continued their inflation-inspired rise this week, with gold and silver rising to six-month highs. Global investors have grown increasingly concerned that inflation is around the corner as central banks around the world, including those of Japan, the European Union and the United States announced stimulative measures recently. By Friday, December gold had risen to $1790 per ounce, and December silver had sprung to $35.26 per ounce.
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