Weekly commodity wrap-up

Wildfires darken skies

Just as top climate scientists called for reduced fossil fuel use early last week, more than 400 fires torched more than 8 million acres in western Canada.

Many North Americans are consumed with mitigating the effects of the smoke on their bodies and possessions by using air filters or switching airports, for example.

A growing number of individuals, governmental agencies and corporations — including insurance companies — are proposing we address not only the effects but also the root causes.

By Friday, hundreds of out-of-control fires had burned more than 10,300 acres and have dangerously contaminated the Northeastern U.S., as well as Southeastern Canada. Although some expected moisture would be helpful in containing the fires, heavy winds continue to increase the threats.

Climate experts from the United Nations firmly recommend fast and deep global cuts in fossil fuels to combat the climate crisis and its ravages, including fires, that people in most nations have now felt firsthand.

Our own National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration announced that CO2 levels in Hawaii hit 424 parts per million, which is 3 ppm higher than last year. This is one of the highest May-to-May increases on record.

Silver shines through the clouds

Gold and silver became popular this week, with silver gaining the most of both industrial and precious metals. Higher unemployment figures, and the resulting expectation that interest rates will soften, were cited as reasons for silver’s rally.

The accompanying drop in the value of the U.S. dollar was another focus of the silver bulls, as they compared and shopped for both physical and financial markets that might experience as great a demand in the approaching economy.

Winners and losers

Stock indexes were higher on the week. Soybeans rallied nearly 40 cents per bushel. Silver jumped more than 50 cents per ounce and lean hogs went up nearly 5 cents per pound. Crude fell more than $1.50 per barrel. Corn and wheat were volatile but closed near where they started.

Words of wisdom

“The man who is right always has two forces working in his favor — basic conditions and the men who are wrong. In a bull market, bear factors are ignored.” — Jessie Livermore in Edwin Lefevre’s “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator”

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.