Gasoline Revs Up
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 together to reduce global oil production, which should help firm the petroleum markets as well.
Despite the recent drop in oil and gasoline supplies, U.S. inventories are still at a record for this time of year, which could serve to prevent prices from rising much more.
As of midday Friday, September crude oil futures were worth $48.20 per barrel, and gasoline futures traded for $1.50 per gallon, a price that doesn't include taxes or other expenses.
Silver Market Tarnished
With all eyes on Rio de Janeiro and the gold medal chase, the silver market seems to be getting left in the dust.
While Olympic "gold" medals are over 90% silver, the minor boost in demand from the Olympics couldn't sustain the market, which fell to the lowest level since early July. Most serious analysts don't trade silver off of the Olympics, however.
Instead, silver traders are concerned about rising expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year, a move that could diminish demand for precious metals. Raising rates not only increases the cost of holding silver but also shifts investors toward interest-bearing investments.
As of midday Friday, September silver sold for $19.34 per ounce.
Grain Prices Firm
Despite the bearish shock of record-breaking large crop forecasts from the USDA last week, the grain markets have shown astounding resilience.
Corn and wheat both climbed over 10 cents per bushel, while soybeans climbed a staggering 30 cents during the week.
This strength is giving some farmers hope that the markets may be beginning the long climb back toward profitable levels.
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