Wet weather forecasts drove crop prices higher Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade, but the rally was tempered by concerns over foreign competition - and by later forecasts.
On other markets, palladium prices sagged after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's choice for prime minister won parliamentary approval, raising the likelihood shipments of the metal will resume. Orange juice futures shot up 3.2 percent on aggressive speculator buying.The National Weather Service midday forecast moved the strongest chance of rain in Illinois from Saturday to Sunday, giving farmers another day to plant corn in a key producing state.
"If we come in next week and we're getting 2- to 3-inch rains through the corn belt, we'll be right back up to challenge today's highs," said Bill Biedermann, research director for Allendale Inc., a futures brokerage firm in Crystal Lake.
Biedermann said Argentina, China and Indonesia all are selling corn, and the Ukraine has 3 million tons of feed wheat it can't find buyers for.