Corn settled over 1-percent higher with the May contract closing 7 1/2 cents lower at $5.91 3/4 a bushel. Concerns that farmers in the U.S. Midwest will encounter further planting delays because of excessive moisture were noted for today's gain. Analysts anticipate the crop is 2%-4% planted as of Sunday. The 10-year planting average at this time of year is usually 6-percent.
Forecasts for a narrow but extremely heavy rain system with the potential of 2.00 inches may fall on portions of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and southeastern Iowa later this week. Since plants needs to pollinate before the hot summer weather, Corn yields can decline unless seeds are sown before the end of April in the southern Midwest.
Soybeans settled over 3-percent higher with the May contract settling 40 cents higher at $13.72 1/2 a bushel. Spill-over strength from rising energy prices, and weather concerns in Argentina was noted for today's significant rally.
Wheat settled lower with the May Minneapolis Grain Exchange contract settling limit-down, 60 cents, at $12.32 a bushel. Lower cash prices and an unwinding of the long/MGE short/CBOT spread sent the MGE contract limit-down, while the CBOT contract settled nearly unchanged.
The crude oil influence on soy-oil, which is used to produce bio-diesel, resulted in a gain of over 2-percent today with the May contract settling 156 points higher at 61.50 cents per pound. May soy-meal settled $5.70 higher at $350.20 per short ton.
Rice settled limit-up with the May contract settling 50 cents higher at $21.42 per hundredweight. Tight global supplies with strong demand continue to send rice higher. May oats settled 1 cent higher at $3.86 a bushel.
Pork bellies settled limit-up with the April contract gaining 300 points to settle at 77.37 cents a pound. Short covering and commercial buyers were active on speculation that the falling U.S. dollar will spark additional overseas demand was noted for today's huge rally. Pork bellies have gained over 17-percent in the past two weeks.
The USDA's mid-day boxed-beef wire today reported choice cuts jumped 1.88 cents a pound and select items soared 1.77 cents a pound.
April lean hogs settled 17 points lower at 58.77 cents a pound, April live cattle settled 45 points higher at 89.15 cents a pound, and April feeder cattle settled 5 points higher at 99.55 cents.
Gold bucked a two day losing streak by settling higher today. The June contract closed up $1.70 higher at $928.70 an ounce. Weakness in the U.S. dollar typically increases demand for precious metals as a hedge against inflation. Gold has declined 10 percent from the March 17th record of $1,033.90 an ounce.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.2-percent to 71.76 today. Silver for May delivery settled 10 cents, or 0.6 percent, higher to $17.79 an ounce.
July platinum settled $46.60 lower at $1,981.50 an ounce, June palladium settled $12.55 lower at $462.80 an ounce, and May copper settled 4 cents lower at $3.90 a pound.
Crude oil settled at a fresh all-time-high with the May contract settling $1.62 higher at $111.76 a barrel. Shrinking inventories reported by the Energy Information Administration last week, combined with today's decline of the U.S. dollar was noted for the record close today.
The Energy Department expects gas prices to average as much as $3.60 a gallon this summer, with a potential for a spike as high as $4 a gallon. They also expect summer gasoline demand to fall for the first time in 17 years. May RBOB gasoline settled 1.45 cent higher to a fresh closing high of $2.8218 a gallon.
May natural gas settled 8.9 cents higher at $9.99 per million British thermal units, and May heating oil settled nearly flat at $3.2029 a gallon.
Orange juice closed higher for the first time in a week, with the May contract settling 5 points higher at $1.1115 a pound. Shorts were covering after the market declined nearly 10-percent last week. Orange juice inventories rose from 91.923 million to 95.042 million gallons last week.
May cocoa settled $9 higher at $2,550 a metric ton, May sugar settled 3 points higher at 12.37 cents a pound, May cotton settled 14 points lower at 74.02 cents a pound, and May coffee settled 25 points higher at $1.3110 a pound.
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