Soybean futures rose to a record as the worst drought in more than 50 years threatens to damage crops in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower.
Severe to exceptional drought expanded to 48 percent of the Midwest as of July 17 from 33 percent a week earlier, the government said today. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared almost 1,300 counties in 29 states as natural-disaster areas. Fields are in the worst condition since 1988, when drought reduced soybean production by 20 percent from a year earlier.
“Soybeans are going downhill fast, and there are few signs for relief,” Gregg Hunt, a market analyst at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Expanding drought will lead very tight U.S. supplies and higher prices to slow demand.”
Soybean futures for November delivery rose 2 percent to settle at $16.5225 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after reaching a record $16.7375. The previous all-time high for the most-active contract was $16.3675 on July 3, 2008.
The December futures contract for soybean meal, a livestock feed, rose 1.7 percent to $487.30 for 2,000 pounds on the CBOT, after advancing by the exchange limit of $20 to a record $499. The price is up 18 percent this month.
Soybeans are the second-largest U.S. crop, behind corn, valued at $35.8 billion in 2011, government figures show.
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