U.S. Markets closed

Soybeans plunge; crop yields are surprisingly high

The Associated Press

Soybean prices closed sharply lower Monday after early reports of crop yields from Midwestern states came in far better than the market expected.

Soybeans for November delivery plunged 70 cents to settle at $16.69 a bushel. Other crop prices also fell. December wheat lost 46.25 cents to settle at $8.78 a bushel. December corn fell 34 cents to $7.48 per bushel.

Cooler weather and rains in August helped U.S. soybean crops far more than had been anticipated, after a record-setting hot July severely damaged corn crops. Jason Ward, analyst with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis, says farmers are "pleasantly surprised" to see how well the early soybean crop yields are coming in.

Early crop yield reports from even very dry areas were coming in strong, Ward said, especially in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. Ward says there's "more room to go down" for soybean prices after the November contract hit a record high of $17.89 on Sept. 4.

Even with only 10 percent of the crop harvested, Ward said the "early indications are better than expected."

Crude oil ended sharply lower after an afternoon plunge. Benchmark crude fell $2.38, or 2.4 percent, to finish at $96.62 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest percentage decline since July 23.

Traders were unsure of the cause of the sudden drop. Some suspected a mistaken trade or a rumor about more oil being released from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Other energy futures also fell. Wholesale gasoline dropped 7.23 cents to $2.9433 per gallon; natural gas fell 7.8 cents to $2.8650 per 1,000 cubic feet, and heating oil slipped 7.61 cents to $3.1634 per gallon.

Metals prices fell. December gold fell $2.10 to $1,770.60 per ounce, December silver lost 28.9 cents to $34.367 an ounce, and October platinum fell $41.10 to $1,672.60 an ounce. December copper fell 4.05 cents to $3.792 per pound and December palladium fell $10.20 to $689.10 per ounce.