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Record crop forecast sends corn prices lower

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Corn prices ended sharply lower Wednesday after the Department of Agriculture predicted a record crop and large supplies of the grain.

The actively traded December contract for corn fell 13.25 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $5.375 a bushel. The front-month contract for July fell 8.75 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $6.5075 a bushel.

The USDA reported that while corn farmers are being affected by cool, wet weather this spring they are still expected to bring in a record crop this year. The agency said farmers are forecast to deliver 14 million bushels, beating the 2009 record of 13.1 billion bushels.

Scott Strand, a market analyst at Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis, said the agency's estimate that there would be 1.949 billion bushels of corn stockpiles at the end of the summer was much larger than the 1.758 billion the market was expecting.

Wheat prices also fell, while soybeans ended flat.

July wheat fell 13.75 cents, or 2 percent, to $6.83 a bushel. July soybeans edged up 0.25 cent to $15.4075 a bushel.

Metals prices rose broadly. The actively traded August contract for gold rose $15 to $1,392 an ounce.

July silver rose 15 cents to $21.796 an ounce. July copper rose 3.05 cents to $3.225 a pound. July platinum rose $2.40 to $1,482.30 an ounce and September palladium rose $4.55 to $757.05 an ounce.

Energy prices mostly rose.

Benchmark oil for July delivery added 50 cents to finish at $95.88 a barrel in New York. Oil lost 65 cents a barrel over the previous two days.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was down 1 cent at $2.81 a gallon, heating oil rose 4 cents to $2.90 per gallon and natural gas added 5 cents to $3.78 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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