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Stabilized

Well, I’ve got to admit I’m happy I gave a number of reasons on Friday to not believe that crops had necessarily topped and were irrevocably heading downwards – yet.

On Friday things had stabilized. Monday was a good day. Today’s a bad day, so far. USDA stats are weighing on the market, but chartwise we’re bobbling around in a short-term range, which is a heck of a bunch better than being on a straight down trend.

But it’s an anxious time. Most of the price of crops these days is determined by the overall strength of commodity prices, and some of the long-lingering economic, financial and geo-political concerns in the world are slowly becoming more prominent and chopping at the confidence of the overall commodities boom.

There are lots of problems that could drive crop prices relatively higher: U.S. cornbelt problems, U.S. Hard Red Winter Wheat problems, problems with Hard Red Spring Wheat across the Dakotas and Western Canada, problems with getting canola and special crops seeded on the prairies.

But the recent commodity slump should be taken as a tremor that could presage an eventual earthquake. China’s trying to beat down inflation and that means beating down economic demand. The U.S. economy is weak, regardless of the boundless confidence of some that everything’s back to the pre-2007-08 normal. Europe is coming apart at the seams, but is using financial duct tape to keep the common currency whole(ish). And we also have a number of wars going on, and a regional civil meltdown across the Arab world. And nuclear problems in Japan.

So, while there’s good reason to hope for another kick higher into June for crop prices, there are a bunch of wild cards and landmines out there.

So think about hedging.

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