Weekly commodity wrap-up

Silver gets smashed

Gold and silver sustained sharp losses. Silver was hit particularly hard in a wave of liquidation. So the near two-day decline from Thursday’s high to Friday’s low was one of the largest declines in silver seen in years.

The April Consumer Price Index rose 4.9% from a year earlier, indicating continued decline from a peak of 9.1% in June of 2022. April’s Producer Price Index was up 2.3% year-over-year, with initial jobless claims much higher than expected. Sluggish Chinese inflation figures added to the negative tone, and copper broke a major support level with a new four months’ low. The U.S. dollar rose to its highest level in a month.

Planting proceeds but prices don’t sprout

Corn, soybeans, soy oil and soybean meal chopped back and forth without providing any boost to farm profits. The U.S. corn crop was roughly 50% planted and about 35% of beans are in the ground. Most farmers have been patiently waiting for soil temps to reach the 50 degree mark to insure germination and good yields. Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand report was friendly to wheat but not to corn or beans. The phenomenal rise in Kansas City hard red winter wheat continued, with July futures exploding another 60 cents per bushel to Friday’s high.

Supreme Court maddens hog producers

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to California’s Proposition 12 on Thursday, which delighted animal welfare groups but provoked farmers involved in producing meat, especially hogs. The five-justice majority endorsed the 2018 ethical pork law that bans the sale of pork from pigs housed in crowded cages or pens in which hogs cannot turn around freely. The National Pork Council warns the decision will knock small producers out of business and raise the price of all proteins.

Weekly winners And losers

Winners first: KC wheat is up more than 75 cents per bushel, touching almost $9 on Friday. The U.S. Dollar Index rose over a penny and a half to 1.0250.

Losers last: July copper lost 15 cents per pound, and silver went down $1.75 per ounce. Crude oil dropped a dollar per barrel this week. Soybean oil lost more than 3 cents per pound since last Friday’s close. The Dow Jones was trading down on the week.

Opinions are solely the writer’s. Walt Breitinger is a commodity futures broker in Valparaiso, Ind. He can be reached at (800) 411-3888 or www.indianafutures.com. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.