Soybean Futures Extend Gains On Frost Fears
Undated (AP) _ Soybean futures prices rose strongly for the third straight day Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade, reflecting increased prospects for overnight frost damage to crops in Iowa and Minnesota.
Most grain futures also advanced as buying interest spilled over from the soybean pit.
On other commodity markets, cotton, livestock, oil and precious metal futures all rose.
Soybeans for delivery in November rose 6 cents to $6.17 1/2 a bushel, bringing the contract’s cumulative advance since Friday to 20 3/4 cents. The more lightly traded September contract, which expires Thursday, rose 8 cents to $6.09 a bushel.
September wheat rose 2 cents to $3.33 a bushel; September corn rose 1 cents to $2.52 3/4 a bushel; September oats fell 2 cents to $1.16 a bushel.
Soybean prices were boosted by midday forecasts for overnight readings into the 20s in western Iowa and southwestern Minnesota. Soybean and corn crops in those areas were planted late due to heavy spring rain and are especially vulnerable to freeze damage, said Victor Lespinasse, assistant vice president in the grain-trading division of Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.
Charles Notis, a partner in the private forecasting firm Freese-Notis Weather Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa, predicted lows of 25 to 30 degrees across much of Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska Thursday morning and similar readings in northern Illinois and Indiana Friday morning.
Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc. meteorologist Jon Davis, who saw little chance earlier this week for frost in crop-growing areas, said he lowered his temperature predictions Wednesday as skies cleared.
″The bottom line is, the less clouds you have, the colder it’s going to get,″ Davis said.
He predicted lows of 28 to 35 degrees in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.
″Those kinds of temperatures would produce some spotty damage across the area but it’s not the kind of situation where beanfield after beanfield after beanfield gets totally devastated,″ Davis said.
Forecasts for cool, wet weather in the Texas high plains drove cotton prices higher on the New York Cotton Exchange.
″That kind of weather interferes with growth and may even reduce the yield somewhat,‴ said Ernest Simon, cotton specialist with Prudential Securities Inc.
Cotton for October delivery rose .97 cent to 65.3 cents a pound.
Livestock and meat futures rose on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as traders staked out positions ahead of the Agriculture Department’s monthly cattle-on-feed report, which was released after the close.
The report showed that more cattle were sold off of feedlots and fewer were placed onto feedlots in August than traders had expected. The net result was no change from a year ago in the number of cattle being fed for slaughter instead of an expected 2.2 percent increase. The report was expected to prompt a rally in live cattle futures on Thursday.
Live cattle for October delivery rose .60 cent to 72.30 cents a pound; September feeder cattle rose .17 cent to 85.42 cents a pound; October live hogs rose .22 cent to 45.57 cents a pound; February frozen pork bellies climbed .38 cent to 49.45 cents a pound.
Energy futures rallied on the New York Mercantile Exchange in reaction to news that the United States was sending warplanes to Saudi Arabia in a show of muscle designed to force Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. inspections required by the Gulf War cease-fire.
Light sweet crude oil for October delivery rose 22 cents to $21.84 a barrel; October home heating oil rose .74 cent to 61.85 cents a gallon; October unleaded gasoline climbed .70 cent to 61.76 cents a gallon; October natural gas rose 1.2 cents to $1.61 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Precious metal futures firmed on New York’s Commodity Exchange in reaction to crude’s advance and to a Soviet official’s statement that the Soviet Union does not intend to sell gold to raise hard currency.
October gold rose $1.90 to $349.20 a troy ounce; September silver rose 2.3 cents to $4.08 a troy ounce.