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Commodity Market Summary

April 17, 2008


Rice settled at a fresh all-time high, with the May contract closing 75 cents higher at $23.30 per hundredweight. Tight global supplies with strong demand continue to send it higher. Rice has doubled in price over the past year.

On the demand front, Turkey and the Philippines announced that they are seeking to buy rice. This increased demand for rice comes at a time of shrinking global supply. Already, China, Vietnam, India, and Egypt have curbed rice exports to meet domestic demand.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that only 14-percent of the rice crop was planted in the six largest U.S. growing states as of April 13. This number is down from 28 percent a year ago.

Wheat closed over 1-percent lower with the May contract settling 11 1/2 cents lower at $9.13 a bushel. Profit-taking and news that wheat production in 2008 would surpass last year's number pushed prices lower today.

May corn settled unchanged at $6.03 ½ a bushel, May soybeans settled 5 3/4 cents higher at $13.50 1/2 a bushel, July soy-meal settled $5.20 higher at $350.00 per short ton, and July soy-oil settled 70 points lower at 61.58 cents per pound.


Coffee climbed to a one-month high, with the May contract settling 4.90 cents higher at $1.3965 a pound. Speculation that Brazil's government will offer farmers subsidies to hold back some of their crop and news that exports in the region fell from last year's numbers was noted for today's gain.

Cocoa continued higher Wednesday, with the July contract settling $100 higher at $2,741 a metric ton. Dry conditions in Nigeria are raising concerns over crop conditions. Cocoa futures have soared 20-percent over the past 2-weeks.

Cotton fell over 2-percent today, with the May contract settling 179 points lower at 71.75 cents a pound. Outside market pressure from recent weakness in corn and soybeans pushed cotton lower on the session.

May orange-juice settled 200 points higher at $1.1845 a pound, and May sugar settled 8 points lower at 12.57 cents a pound.


Cattle futures settled higher, with April live cattle closing 27 points higher at 90.32 cents a pound. Climbing boxed beef prices amid stronger demand was noted for much of the rally in cattle market today. April feeder cattle settled 142 points higher at 106.02 cents a pound.

Pork bellies closed lower, with the May contract settling 140 points lower at 76.75 cents a pound. Profit-taking after climbing 18-percent over the past 2 weeks was noted for much of today's decline. June lean hogs closed 102 points lower at 72.95 cents a pound.


Gold had a modest decline today, with the June contract settling $5.40 lower at $942.90 an ounce. The U.S. dollar rebounded .4-percent from yesterday's record low.

Platinum gained 1.2-percent today, with the July contract settling $24.20 higher at $2,061.50 an ounce. Energy shortages in South Africa are increasing speculation that they will experience declines in metal output.

South Africa, which is responsible for 78-percent of the world's platinum, may face power shortages for seven years, state-owned utility Eskom Holdings Ltd. said yesterday.

Copper slid 1-percent today, with the July contract settling 4.05 cents lower at $3.9145 a pound. May silver futures settled 2 cents lower at $18.305 an ounce and June palladium settled $1.20 higher at $461.20 an ounce.


Crude oil retreated from a fresh all-time high of $115.54 a barrel, with the May contract settling 7 cents lower at $114.86 a barrel. Strength in the U.S. dollar was noted for today's modest decline.

Gasoline futures closed at an all-time high for the 6th straight session, with the May contract settling 1.88 cents higher at $2.959 a gallon. Falling refinery utilization continues to push gasoline futures higher.

May heating oil futures settled 1.4 cents low at $3.269 a gallon, and May natural gas settled 2.3 cents lower at $10.41 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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