Gold and silver sustained sharp losses. Silver was hit particularly hard in a wave of liquidation. So the near two-day decline from Thursday’s high to Friday’s low was one of the largest declines in silver seen in years.
The April Consumer Price Index rose 4.9 percent from a year earlier, indicating continued decline from a peak of 9.1 percent in June of 2022. April’s Producer Price Index was up 2.3 percent year-over-year, with initial jobless claims much higher than expected. Sluggish Chinese inflation figures added to the negative tone, and copper broke a major support level with a new four months’ low. The U.S. dollar rose to its highest level in a month.
Planting Proceeds But Prices Don’t Sprout
Corn, soybeans, soy oil and soybean meal chopped back and forth without providing any boost to farm profits. The U.S. corn crop was roughly 50 percent planted and about 35 percent of beans are in the ground. Most farmers have been patiently waiting for soil temps to reach the 50-degree mark to ensure germination and good yields. Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand report was friendly to wheat but not to corn or beans. The phenomenal rise in Kansas City hard red winter wheat continued, with July futures exploding another 60 cents per bushel to Friday’s high.
Supreme Court Maddens Hog Producers
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to California’s Proposition 12 on Thursday, which delighted animal welfare groups but provoked farmers involved in producing meat, especially hogs. The five-justice majority endorsed the 2018 ethical pork law which bans the sale of pork from pigs housed in crowded cages or pens in which hogs cannot turn around freely. The National Pork Council warns the decision will knock small producers out of business and raise the price of all proteins.
Weekly Winners and Losers
Winners first: KC wheat is up over 75 cents per bushel, touching almost $9 on Friday. The U.S. Dollar Index rose over a penny-and-a-half to 1.0250.
Losers last: July copper lost 15 cents per pound, and silver went down $1.75 per ounce. Crude oil dropped a dollar per barrel this week. Soybean oil lost more than three cents per pound since last Friday's close. The Dow Jones was trading down on the week.