commodity prices

19 Stories

China's Hunger for Ginseng Is Wiping It Out in Appalachia

The lucrative root is prized by poachers looking for a quick buck

(Newser) - A gold rush of sorts is taking place in Appalachia, but this one involves the plant ginseng. As a story by Suzy Khimm at Foreign Policy lays out in fascinating detail, the root is a hot commodity in China because of its purported medicinal values, but wild ginseng is practically... More »

Traders Using Supertankers to Stockpile Oil

They turn to supertankers amid 'contango'

(Newser) - Commodity brokers call it a "contango"—a situation where the current price of a commodity is lower than prices for future delivery—and it could make a lot of money for traders who can find somewhere to store huge amounts of oil. The recent plunge in oil prices... More »

New Luxury Item: Butter?

Price hits all-time high amid surge in demand

(Newser) - Will American shoppers soon be saying, "I can't believe I can't afford butter?" Butter prices hit a record high on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this week, and with the levels of the stuff in storage down 42% over this time last year, "Americans are about to... More »

Seed Shortage Buries Hopes for Record Corn Crop

Corn prices may hit record high this year

(Newser) - American farmers had been planning the biggest corn planting since World War II this spring, but they're being thwarted by a seed shortage. Drought conditions in the Midwest and Great Plains last year have caused what dealers in the corn belt say is the biggest shortage of top-quality seeds... More »

Dow Seesaws on Jobs, Dollar, Then Closes Up 22

Jobs rally undercut by, dollar boom, sinking commodities

(Newser) - Stocks posted modest gains today after a morning rally off an unexpectedly strong jobs report. The surge lost steam when a rise in the dollar sapped commodity stocks, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The Dow rose 22.75 points to close at 10,388.90.
  • The Nasdaq added 21.21,
... More »

Russian Tycoon Makes Bid for NJ Nets

NBA team could be first to go under foreign ownership

(Newser) - A Russian tycoon has made a bid for a controlling stake in the New Jersey Nets, in what could become the first instance of foreign ownership of an NBA club, Reuters reports. Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s richest man, said on his blog that his Onexmi group had offered to loan... More »

Euro Farmers Protest Falling Prices With Huge Milk Dump

800,000 gallons in Belgian field after recession takes big toll

(Newser) - European farmers today dumped 800,000 gallons of milk in a Belgian field, AFP reports, in a protest against a dramatic dive in prices. The group behind the scene says three French farmers committed suicide in the past week over prices, which have fallen by as much as half as... More »

Trading Rules Help Wall Street Pick Fed's Pocket

Transparency concerns let banks pick Bernanke's pocket

(Newser) - Banks across Wall Street have made hefty profits trading with the Federal Reserve—often their only customer as the financial crisis ground trading to a halt—and government officials and finance execs are now asking whether Ben Bernanke is making tough enough deals. The central bank, unlike individual or corporate... More »

Feds Consider Limits on Oil, Energy Speculation

Commodity Commission to hold hearings on 'purely financial' energy futures trading

(Newser) - Federal regulators may impose new limits on the amount of energy-futures contracts that speculators can buy, the New York Times reports, an attempt to curb severe price fluctuations in commodities like oil and natural gas. Oil prices swung from $145 per barrel last summer to $33 in December, movement some... More »

Chile's Thrift Pays Off as Downturn Bites Elsewhere

Finance minister hailed for dodging commodity bubble

(Newser) - Chile's thrifty finance minister is starting to look like a prophet as spendthrift, "grasshopper" economies founder around him, the Wall Street Journal reports. Andres Velasco's tight grip on the country's copper revenue during the commodities boom made him and his party deeply unpopular at the time, but the country... More »

Binge Now: Chocolate Prices May Spike

Soaring cocoa prices slim down candy makers' profit margins

(Newser) - Soaring cocoa prices have left chocolate makers wondering how far they can hike prices without souring business, the Wall Street Journal reports. Crop woes in Africa have kept cocoa pricey despite the global commodities slump. Chocolate companies are mostly holding prices steady for now but many are expected to fatten... More »

Short on Salt, Towns Turn to Molasses

As salt costs double, alternative deicers hit the pavement

(Newser) - With the weather outside frightful and rock-salt prices spiking, communities across the country are experimenting with new concoctions for melting snow and ice on roadways, the Wall Street Journal reports, adding molasses, ash, and garlic salt to deicers. The price of salt generally surges after the New Year as communities... More »

Gold's Price Is High, but Human Costs Are Steeper

(Newser) - As the price of gold continues its steady climb—at $271 before 9/11, it's now above $835—National Geographic provides a sobering look at the human and environmental costs of finding it and digging it up. With the world's biggest deposits long gone and new discoveries rare, "it's an... More »

Dow Up 299 on Stimulus, Autos

Industries likely to benefit from Obama building plan see gains

(Newser) - Stocks rallied today, led by automakers, which look ever likelier to get a federal bailout, and industrial firms expected to benefit from President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed public-works programs, MarketWatch reports. The Dow gained 298.76 to close at 8,934.18. The Nasdaq rose 62.43, closing at 1,... More »

Slowdown Puts Mining Outfits in Deep Hole

China's drop in demand further drives down commodities

(Newser) - Mining companies are shutting down production, laying off workers, and trying to sell excess product as the global economic slowdown drills into the industry’s profits, reports the Wall Street Journal. Metal prices dropped a record 35% last month, and nearly every mineral has been hit. Mining, once an economic... More »

Deflation Danger Looms as World Economy Slows

Falling prices could trigger long downward spiral

(Newser) - Fears of runaway inflation have been replaced by fears of its opposite as the world's economy starts seizing up, the New York Times reports. Economists see a potentially devastating deflation ahead as cash-strapped consumers create a glut of underpriced, unpurchased goods and services—in turn triggering mass layoffs at struggling... More »

Is a Bull Market on the Horizon?

Lower rates and commodity prices and stocks that looks cheap could trigger a run

(Newser) - Apocalyptic attitudes abound, but weed through the financial doom and gloom and you'll find a few economists who think we've bottomed out, and that a bull market is up next, writes Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times. The Dow has dropped 34.6% in the last year, but recent... More »

Construction Theft Is Building Concern

$5B in annual losses drive home prices up by as much as 10%

(Newser) - Increasing theft of building materials from construction sites, especially residential projects, is driving up the cost of homes to consumers as much as 10%, the New York Times reports. Experts say as much as $5 billion a year is being lost to thieves looking to profit from skyrocketing prices for... More »

Gold Medal Is Priceless, But Metal Is Worth $215

(Newser) - Michael Phelps’ eight Olympic golds may be priceless, but they're not worth that much to a commodities trader, MarketWatch notes. This year's gold medals are made mostly of silver and coated with less than a quarter-ounce of gold, putting their value around $215. But people are, of course, willing to... More »

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