Corn prices climb on reports of falling supply
Corn reached its highest price of the year Monday after government reports pointed to a tighter supply of the crop.
The price of a bushel of corn increased 10 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $5.02. That’s the highest price since July 17, according to the data provider FactSet.
In its annual forecast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the number of acres devoted to corn will likely shrink about 4 percent this year as farmers use more land for soybeans. The USDA estimates that 91.7 million acres of corn will be planted this year, down from 95.4 million acres last year. Corn prices have fallen 28 percent over the past year, while soybean prices are up 4 percent.
In a separate report, the USDA said the US had 7.01 billion bushels of corn stockpiled, well below private estimates.
Soybeans rose 28 cents to settle at $14.64 a bushel on Monday, while wheat inched up 2 cents to $6.97.
Metals were mixed. Gold for June delivery fell $10.50 to settle at $1,283.80. Silver for May lost 4 cents to $19.75.
The copper contract for May slipped 2 cents to settle at $3.03 a pound.
Platinum for July rose $13.60 to $1,420.80, and palladium for June rose $3.40 to $777.10.
Most metals slumped in March but for different reasons. At the start of the month, traders bought gold on concerns that a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the region of Crimea could turn much worse. But as it appeared less likely that Russia would invade the Ukraine, those fears faded and the price of gold dropped. The precious metal ended the month down 3 percent.
Copper prices dropped 5 percent, largely a result of news out of China, the world’s largest consumer of the metal. Traders sold contracts for the industrial metal after numerous reports showed the country’s economy was slowing down.
In the market for oil and gas on Monday, crude oil settled slightly lower, slipping 9 cents to $101.58.
In other trading on the Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $2.92 a gallon.
— Heating oil shed 2 cents to $2.93 a gallon.
— Natural gas lost 11 cents to $4.37 per 1,000 cubic feet.