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Commodity Market Summary

May 15, 2008

Grains

Corn closed modestly higher, with the July contract settling 2 3/4 cents higher at $5.99 per bushel. Corn futures were trading lower early in the session on favorable planting conditions in the U.S. Midwest. Late in the day corn turned positive and closed slightly higher on speculation that the Argentine farmer strike might be concluding. This news sparked an unwinding of the long beans short corn trade.

Wheat closed 1-percent higher, with the July contract settling 7.5 cents higher at $7.715 a bushel. Speculation that Iran will need to import 5 million metric tons in the market year that ends on March 31st.

Iran received 20-percent less rainfall in the country's main growing area, with chatter that their crop is a disaster, increasing demand on the U.S. crop.

Soybeans closed 2.3-percent lower today, with the July contract settling 32 cents lower at $13.475 a bushel. Speculation that Argentine farmers and government officials will come to a resolution on disputes over increasing tariffs on grain exports was noted for today's decline.

Farmers in Argentina were meeting today to decide whether to extend their protest against higher export taxes. Soybean processing in Argentina declined 50 percent in March as farmers withheld supplies during a three-week strike.

Rice closed limit-down for a third straight day. The July contract settled $1.15 lower at $20.34 per hundredweight. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop progress report Monday showed U.S. rice plantings were 74-percent as of Sunday, up from 61-percent last week. Increasing plantings is seen as bearish to prices.

July oats settled 13 ½ cents lower at $3.94 a bushel, July soy-meal settled $6.7 lower at $345.00 per short ton, and July soy-oil settled 147 points lower at 60.03 cents per pound.

Softs

Cotton closed higher for the first time this week, with the July contract settling 0.14 cent higher at 70.13 cents a pound. Planting delays combined with expectations that farmers will plant the fewest acres in 10-years was noted for the modest rally today.

Orange juice closed 1.2-percent lower today with the July contract settling 135 points lower at $1.1060 a pound. Huge supplies with shrinking demand continue to pull orange juice lower for the fourth straight session.

Sugar closed lower for the third straight session, with the July contract settling .05 cent lower at 11 cents a pound. Brazil, the world's largest producer of sugar, is expected to harvest 498.1 million metric tons in the center south region for a gain of 16-percent from last year's crop.

July coffee settled 90 points lower at $1.3680 a pound, and July cocoa settled $20 lower at $2,629 a metric ton.

Meats

Cattle futures closed mixed toady, with August feeder cattle settling 52 points higher at 113.27 cents a pound. Higher mid-day boxed beef quotes gave the bulls a reason to run higher. August live cattle settled 72 points lower at 99.50 cents a pound.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's mid-day boxed beef wire reported choice cuts gained $0.24 per hundredweight, while select items were $0.27 per hundredweight higher.

Hog futures closed lower today, with June lean hogs settling 110 points lower at 77.07 cents a pound. Lower cash prices were noted for the decline in the hog market today. July pork bellies settled 92 points lower at 80.62 cents a pound.

Energy

Crude oil closed modestly lower today, with the June contract settling 10 cents lower at $124.12 a barrel. Larger than expected build in U.S. natural gas inventories pulled crude lower after rallying $2 higher early in the session.

Natural gas declined 1.7-percent today, with the June contract settling 20 cents lower at $11.40 per million British thermal units. A Larger than anticipated build in U.S. inventories was noted for the decline in natural gas today.

U.S. Natural gas inventories climbed by 93 billion cubic feet for the week ended May 9, the Energy Department said Thursday. The build in inventories was well above expectations for an increase of 85 billion.

June RBOB gasoline settled 1.46 cents lower at $3.1658 a gallon, and June heating oil settled 0.46 cent higher at $3.6224 a gallon.

Metals

Gold closed 1.5-percent higher today, with the June contract settling $13.50 higher at $880 an ounce. Larger than expected jobless claims increases the appeal of precious metals as a flight to safety.

The Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose 6,000 to 371,000, on a seasonally adjusted basis, in the week ended May 10.

July silver settled 7 cents higher at $16.68 an ounce, July platinum settled $37.80 higher at $2,076.90 an ounce, June palladium futures settled $2.90 higher at $440.60 an ounce, and July copper settled 6 cents higher at $3.74 a pound.

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