Here's a look at futures prices on commodities that impact Southern Illinois and the rest of the Midwest.
Gold blasts to new highs
Smart money chased gold prices higher all week in “flight to quality” buying fueled by geopolitical fears, continuing ultralow interest rates, the trade dispute with China, and thoughts that Washington will allow bigger and bigger deficits.
The escalation of tension in the Gulf region grasped the attention of both “gold bugs” and conservative investors looking for a safe-haven alternative to the equity markets which were on the decline. As a result, gold has run up nearly $90 per ounce during the last month.
Too late to plant
Millions of acres have gone unplanted as the dry weather so desperately needed by Midwest corn farmers never came. Though some farmers are switching to plant soybeans, many in the Eastern Corn Belt never turned a wheel in the field and could only watch their fertilizer waste away with hopes for sunshine.
Those who got planted were thrilled to see prices zoom ahead by another 25 cents per bushel this week to $4.60 by Friday.
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Our heart goes out to those who couldn’t plant.
Grills sit in the garage
The same factors that drove grain prices up pushed livestock prices lower. Few grills got fired up this week, so steaks, hot dogs and chops sat in the fridge leaving demand and prices on the downtrend.
June cattle were worth $1.09 per pound while June hogs traded at $0.79 per pound.
Oil sinks on huge supply
A whopping 2.2 million barrel increase in crude oil inventories depressed prices below $51 per barrel on Wednesday, near the lowest level on the year.
However, when the news struck of an attack on two tankers in the gulf of Oman, Secretary of State Pompeo assigned the blame to Iran, causing prices to bounce briefly on increased fears of war.
Ultimately, sagging global demand and the huge supply in the U.S. stockpile overwhelmed buyers and sank prices toward the lows by week’s end, trading near $52.75 per barrel midday Friday.