Slowdown in China hits soybean and copper futures; wheat, corn, oil contracts also fall
Soybean futures fell sharply Monday following news of a slowdown in Chinese trade.
The actively traded May contract for soybeans fell 39 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $14.19 a bushel Monday.
China is a major buyer of U.S. soybeans, and any hint of a slowdown there tends to push prices of the crop lower.
China reported over the weekend that its exports slumped 18 percent last month, far more than economists were expecting.
"China buys 69 percent of our soybean exports, so any little sniffle of economic problems in China translates into concerns about bean prices," said Todd Hultman, a grain analyst with DTN in Omaha, Neb.
Wheat and corn futures also fell. May wheat lost 13 cents, or 2 percent, to $6.41 a bushel, and May corn fell 11 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $4.78 a bushel.
The report also sent copper prices lower, because China is also a big importer of the industrial metal. Copper for delivery in May fell 5 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $3.03 a pound.
Gold for April delivery edged up $3.30 to $1,341.50 an ounce.
Silver for May delivery fell 2 cents to $20.91 an ounce, April platinum fell $6.40 to $1,477.20 an ounce and June palladium fell $4.95 to $776.85 an ounce.
Energy futures closed mostly lower. Crude oil fell $1.46 to $101.12 a barrel.
Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents, or 1 percent, to $2.95 per gallon. Heating oil fell 4 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $2.97 per gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.