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Policy: Economy

Soybeans keep sliding on concerns over China

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News,Business,Agriculture,China,Economy

Concerns over an economic slowdown in China continue to pummel prices for soybeans.

The contract for May delivery of soybeans sank 26 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $13.87 a bushel Wednesday.

Soybean futures have slumped 5 percent this week following reports that China's economy is slowing and that it's cutting back on soybeans. The U.S. government reported last week that China canceled sales of 245,000 tons of soybeans for the 12 months starting last September.

"Soybeans are getting crushed on the weak Chinese data," said Sterling Smith, a commodities analyst at Citigroup.

China is the biggest buyer of U.S. soybeans, and any hint of a slip in demand tends to lower prices for the crop.

In other trading, wheat and corn futures rose. Contracts for delivery of wheat in May surged 25 cents, or 4 percent, to $6.838 a bushel. Corn for the same month rose 5.25 cents, or 1 percent, to $4.885 a bushel.

Metals were broadly higher, led by silver and gold. Silver for May rose 54.3 cents, or 3 percent, to $21.358 an ounce. Gold for April jumped $23.80, or 2 percent, to $1,370.50 an ounce.

Platinum for April gained $11.70, or 1 percent, to $1,476.30 an ounce. Palladium for June rose $6.65, or 1 percent, to $777.15 an ounce.

Copper for May edged up 1 cent, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $2.962 a pound.

In the market for oil and gas, the price of crude oil dropped below $100 a barrel Wednesday after a report showed swelling U.S. supplies.

The U.S. Energy Department said U.S. crude oil supplies grew by 6.2 million barrels last week, well above the increase of 2.3 million barrels expected by analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Crude oil fell $2.04 to $97.99 a barrel in New York.

Wholesale gasoline lost 1.1 cents to $2.96 per gallon. Heating oil fell 3.5 to $2.93 per gallon. Natural gas fell 11.5 cents to $4.49 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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