Grain markets plunge on China data

by Ron Sterk
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KANSAS CITY – Grain and oilseed markets plunged with other commodity and equity markets on April 15 after China reported slower-than-expected first quarter gross domestic product growth.

Wheat futures fell about 10@20c a bu on April 15, with the largest declines of 20c or more seen in old crop Chicago soft red winter and Kansas City hard red winter contracts. Minneapolis spring wheat futures fell about 10c a bu. Corn futures prices fell about 10@20c a bu and soybeans were 20@25c a bu lower.

Pressure began April 14 after China reported first quarter G.D.P. growth of 7.7%, which was below trade expectations and lower than in the fourth quarter of 2012. Equity indexes sank across the globe, with U.S. stock indexes down about 2% for the day. Gold futures fell about $140 an oz, or more than 9%, the largest one-day plunge in more than three decades to two-year lows, and crude oil futures fell about 3%.

U.S. stocks were further pressured after explosions near the end of the Boston Marathon that killed three persons and injured more than 140 the afternoon of April 15. Many commodity markets already were closed when the explosions occurred, but equity markets still were trading, as were electronic markets for some commodities.

Grain futures prices were mostly higher in electronic trading early April 16, with gold futures also higher but crude oil futures slightly lower. U.S. stock index futures were sharply higher around 8:00 a.m. Central Time.
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