Grains

Corn fell over 3-percent today, with the July contract settling 19 1/2 cents lower at $5.94 a bushel. Higher corn plantings, and concerns over increasing political pressure on ethanol mandates sent corn lower on the session. 

USDA reports that 27-percent of the corn crop is planted as of May 4, up from 10-percent the previous week. This number is well behind last year's pace of 45-percent, and even further behind the five-year pace of 59-percent. 

John McCain and 22 other Republican senators are seeking a waiver from a mandate requiring an increase of ethanol use to 20 percent this year. Barack Obama yesterday on NBC's Meet the Press said that changes in the ethanol policy may be needed. 

Soybeans fell 1.4-percent today, with the July contract settling 18 1/2 cents lower at $12.86 a bushel. Climbing energy prices were not enough to keep the bears from running wild in the grain pit today. Ethanol bashing is underpinning the market on fears that changes, could result in less demand. Soybeans have jumped 75-percent in the past 12 months. 

USDA reports that 5-percent of the soybean crop is planted as of May 4, up from 2-percent last week, but well behind the seasonal average of 14-percent. Soybeans exports were pegged at 11.9 million bushels in the week ending May 1, down from 15.2 million the previous week. 

Wheat closed modestly lower with the July contract settling 3 1/2 cents to lower $8.05 1/2 per bushel. Exports of wheat was pegged at 19.15 million bushels in the week ending May 1, up slightly from 19.2 million the previous week and above the seasonal pace of 16.4 million bushels. 

Softs

Coffee bounced from Friday's 6-week low, with the July contract settling 320 points higher at $1.3260 a pound. Short-covering after coffee has fallen by nearly 30-percent in the past 9-weeks was noted for today's rally. 

July cotton settled 27 points lower at 69.29 cents a pound, July orange juice settled 85 points lower at $1.2070 a pound, July sugar settled one point lower at 11.48 cents a pound, and July cocoa settled $10 higher at $2,631 a metric ton. 

Meats

Hogs were climbing today, with June lean hogs settling 125 points higher at 73.20 cents a pound. Bull spreading and stronger than expected mid-day direct cash hog values was noted for much of today's gain. July pork bellies settled 15 points higher at 74.85 cents a pound.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's mid-day boxed-beef wire reported choice cuts gained $0.81 per hundredweight and select items were $0.28 per hundredweight lower. 

Cattle closed mixed on the session, with June live cattle settling 92 points lower at 91.20 cents a pound, and August feeder cattle settling 10 points higher at 108.25 cents. 

Metals

Gold closed 1.9-percent higher today, with the June contract settling $16.10 higher at $874.10 an ounce. Crude oil climbing to fresh all-time high and weakness in the U.S. dollar versus the euro increases the appeal of precious metals as a hedge against inflation. 

Copper jumped 12-percent, the highest price ever, at about 8:30 a.m. on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Speculation was that a trader made a huge error pushing the market straight up before settling with a 3.3-percent gain on the day. July copper settled 12.7 cents higher at $3.9475 a pound. 

July silver settled 36.5 cents higher at $16.83 an ounce, June palladium settled $4.45 higher at $424.45 an ounce, and July platinum settled $19.20 higher at $1,927.40 an ounce. 

Energy

Oil climbed over $120 a barrel for the first time ever, before closing just off of the highs for a gain of $3.65 at $119.97 a barrel. Supply concerns due to increasing tensions in the Middle East, and weakness in the U.S. dollar helped send crude to a new record high. 

June RBOB gasoline settled 8.65 cents higher at $3.0529 a gallon, June heating oil settled 8.78 cents higher at $3.3065 a gallon, and June natural gas settled 40.1 cents higher at $11.178 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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