Soybeans surge on expectations for rising demand

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Soybean prices surged Wednesday on expectations of rising demand from China and tighter supplies.

The actively traded July contract for soybeans rose 36 cents to settle at $15.05 a bushel Wednesday.

China's demand for soymeal, which is used to feed livestock, has grown this month. Sales had slumped last month over concerns about an outbreak of a bird flu virus.

"Poultry and pork demand fell off a cliff in April," said Sterling Smith, a commodities strategist at Citigroup. "Bird flu is not such a worry this month, and China is back in the market buying soybeans again."

In other trading, corn rose one penny to settle at $4.75 a bushel and wheat slipped 6 cents to $6.64 a bushel.

Prices for precious and industrial metals were mixed. Gold for June delivery fell $6.50 to settle at $1,288.10 an ounce. Silver for July fell 6 cents to $19.34 an ounce.

Copper for July slipped 2 cents to $3.12 a pound. Platinum for the same month rose an even $6 to $1,474.90 an ounce. Palladium for June rose $4.60 to $830.45 an ounce.

The price of oil reached a one-month high Wednesday after a report revealed a large drop in U.S. crude supplies. Oil prices have climbed more than 4 percent this month.

Crude oil gained $1.74, or 2 percent, to settle at $104.07 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $2.99 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 8 cents to $4.47 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was flat at to $2.95 a gallon.