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Commodity Market Summary

May 19, 2008

Metals

Gold climbed to a three-week high today, with the June contract settling $5.90 higher at $905.80 an ounce. Rising energy prices continue to send buyers towards the precious metals markets, which has historically served as a hedge against inflation.

July silver settled 6.8 cents higher at $17.028 an ounce. July copper settled 5 cents lower at $3.78 a pound, July platinum settled $26.20 higher at $2,158.20 an ounce, and June palladium settled $1.95 lower at $451.35 an ounce.

Energy

Crude oil closed at a fresh all-time high, with the June contract settling 76 cents higher at $127.05 a barrel. Smaller than expected build in U.S. crude oil inventories last week and strong demand from China continues to send crude to record levels.

The US EIA reported last week that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 200,000 barrels in the week ending May 9. The build in inventories was less than analysts' expectations of a gain of 2.25 million barrels.

June RBOB gasoline settled 2 cents higher at $3.24 a gallon, June heating oil settled 2 cents lower at $3.68 a gallon and June natural gas settled 14 cents lower at 10.95 per million British thermal units.

Grains

Corn closed modestly lower today, with the July contract settling 4 1/4 cents lower at $5.86 3/4 per bushel. Corn closed at a 3-week low on speculation that plantings in the U.S. Midwest ramped up the past year on favorable planting conditions.

Soybeans fell 3.4-percent today, with the July contract settling 45 cents lower at $13.33 a bushel. Speculation that farmers in Argentina will bring to a close their nationwide strike in protest of higher export tax was noted for today's decline.

Soybean processing in Argentina declined 50-percent in March as farmers withheld supplies during a three-week strike. Demand for U.S. soybeans, typically shifts to South America this time of the year.

Wheat closed nearly 2-percent higher today, with the July contract settling 15 1/2 cents higher at $7.91 per bushel. Concerns over dry conditions in Australia sent wheat higher on the session.

July rice settled 23 1/2 cents higher at $20.30 per hundredweight, July soy-mealsettled $11.20 lower at $338.80 per short ton, and July soy-oil settled 165 points lower at 60.20 cents per pound.

Softs

Coffee fell 2-percent today, with the July contract settling 280 points lower at $1.3520 a pound. Coffee retreated from Friday's one month high as strength in the U.S. dollar was noted for the bearish tone in soft commodities today.

Orange juice fell to a seven-week low Monday, with the July contract settling 65 points lower at $1.0785 a gallon. Climbing inventories and favorable weather in Florida's citrus belt continues to squeeze orange juice futures.

Imports of FCOJ rose to 1.93 million gallons, from 965,434 gallons the previous week. Inventories climbed to 115.49 million, from 109.57 million last week.

Sugar fell to a 5-month low with the July contract settling 27 points lower at 10.86 cents a pound. July cotton settled 15 points lower at 71.81 cents a pound, and July cocoa settled $65 lower at $2,611 a metric ton.

Meats

Hogs were lower today, with July pork bellies settling 62 points lower at $77.05 per hundredweight. Speculation that cash prices have topped out as packers have almost filled all meat orders from retailers for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday, demand typically falls off after the holiday. June lean hogs settled down 22 points at 76.12 cents a pound.

U.S. exported 361.7 million pounds of pork in March, gaining 37-percent from a year earlier. U.S. packers slaughtered 1.65 million hogs through Thursday last week, up 7.3-percent from a year earlier, the USDA estimated.

Cattle futures closed lower today, with June live cattle settling 77 points lower at 93.10 cents a pound, and August feeder cattle settled 132 points lower at 111.75 cents a pound.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's mid-day boxed beef wire reported choice cuts gained $0.23 per hundredweight, while select items were $0.77 per hundredweight higher.

Packers slaughtered 515,000 head of cattle through Thursday last week, up from 500,000 a year earlier. As of the May 11, slaughters in 2008 were at 12.1 million, up from 11.9 million a year earlier, the USDA estimated.

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