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Soybean futures dip after hitting 34-year high on strong demand; gold higher

Soybean futures dip after hitting 34-year high on strong demand; gold higher

Soybean futures fell Friday, pulling back after touching a 34-year high on expectations for robust exports next year and continued strong demand from China.
Gold prices climbed almost $11 an ounce, boosted by strong oil prices, weak economic data in the U.S., and world political concerns following Thursday's assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Wheat futures dropped sharply and oil prices fell. Trading was light in most financial markets due to the holiday season, and that tended to exaggerate many price movements including the turnaround in soybeans.
U.S. exporters have already sold roughly three-quarters of the soybeans the Agriculture Department predicts for the whole marketing year, which ends in June 2008. To make up for dwindling inventories, analysts say farmers need to plant more soybeans than they did last year _ when an ethanol boom led farmers to favor planting corn acres over soybeans.
So far this year, soybean exports are running at 735 million bushels, or about 74 percent of the USDA's total estimate of 995 million bushels. Last year, the farmland dedicated to soybean plantings was reduced by 15 percent.
Feeding Friday's record was continued strong demand from China, the world's largest consumer of soybean oil, said DTN commodities analyst Elaine Kob.
"It's really been an impressive week for soybeans," she said.
A bushel of soybeans for March delivery settled down 8.5 cents at $12.23 a bushel. The price had jumped to $12.48 overnight, beating June 1973's closing high of $12.10 but still shy of that day's trading record of $12.90 a bushel.
Wheat for March delivery fell 26.25 cents to $9.15 a bushel. March corn rose 2.5 cents to $4.5475 a bushel, while March oats traded flat, settling at $$3.09 a bushel.
Gold prices advanced on the precious metal's appeal as a safe haven investment during political uncertainty. Bhutto's assassination in a suicide bombing has stirred investor worries about further instability in the region.
"The geopolitical background continues to unnerve a lot of people," said Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Bullion Dealers, adding that gold has "the potential to close out the year at its very peak."
The dollar's steep drop against the 13-nation euro this year has been a major driver behind gold's advance from less than $650 an ounce in January to a 28-year high near $850 an ounce in November. Gold futures are up nearly 32 percent this year, Nadler said.
An ounce of gold for February delivery added $10.90 to settle at $842.70 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March silver climbed 0.077 cent to $14.895 an ounce, and Nymex copper for March delivery fell 6 cents to close at $3.0720 a pound.
The dollar fell against the euro and yen in late New York trading, but strengthened versus the pound.
Hampering the rise of gold and other commodities was a government report showing sales of new homes fell in November to their lowest level in more than 12 years.
The Commerce Department said new home sales fell 9 percent from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000.


Updated : 2021-04-22 01:35 GMT+08:00