Hot Jobs Melt Gold
Gold prices fell to a three-month low on Friday after a US jobs report showed a much stronger economy. Friday's nonfarm payrolls report showed a jump of 271,000 jobs during October, far higher than the expectations near 180,000. The same report also showed unemployment falling to 5.0% and wages climbing by 0.4%, two more signs of a strengthening economy.
Traders expected that these solid figures would further encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at its next meeting, a move that could undermine demand for gold. Fearing the Fed, the gold market has shed nearly $100 per ounce during the last seven trading sessions, falling as low as $1085 on Friday.
While the recent price drop hurts investors holding onto gold, the drop is a welcome break for would-be buyers considering jewelry purchases for the holidays.
Soybeans in a Slump
As the US harvests a bumper soybean crop, prices are falling sharply, hitting a six-week low. The US exports over a third of its soybean crop to China, making US soybean farmers especially dependent on Chinese demand.
Unfortunately, a slowing Chinese economy and competition from Brazil, the world's largest soybean exporter, has hurt demand for US beans in recent weeks, pushing prices as low as $8.63 on Friday.
Since Brazil is in the Southern Hemisphere, most Brazilian soybeans are planted in the fall and harvested in the spring, putting their production schedule opposite that of the US.
Meat Market in Deep Freeze
Cattle and hog prices collapsed lower this week as the markets continued to reel from a recent World Health Organization study that implicated beef and pork as likely carcinogens.
Meat processors are backing away from new purchases amidst falling consumer demand and lower prices for butchered products. This is leading to an increasing supply of market-ready animals in the face of falling demand, a recipe for sharply lower prices.
By Friday, cattle prices had lost over eight cents (-5.6%) per pound and hogs shed more than five cents (-8.5%), pulling pork to a six-year low at 55 cents per pound.
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