Agricultural prices going vertical again

Wheat, soybeans and corn all jump

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It was another strong day for the agricultural commodities yesterday, with soybeans up by 2.4%, corn by 4.0%, and wheat by 5.5%. They have blown above their highs from earlier this year, partially because of unfavorable weather in key producing countries, though many may also be blaming ultra-loose financial conditions.

Macro

The ECB met yesterday and left policy unchanged. The eurozone central bank has been doing more than most recently, with its balance sheet rising as a share of GDP while most others either increase at a slower pace or have stabilized relative to GDP.

US initial jobless claims fell to 547,000 last week, while continuing claims increased to 3.7mn in the week before.

The US conference board leading indicator jumped in March.

Eurozone consumer confidence is now above the long-run average after it improved in April.

US existing home sales decreased by -3.7% MoM in March, but that left them 12.3% higher than a year earlier.

Markets

Traders will be watching for whether copper or iron break above their recent trading ranges.

The Baltic Dry Index has risen by 18.4% in the past week, as supply constraints show no imminent sign of easing.

There have been mixed fortunes for the currencies of Brazil and Turkey - moves against the USD in the past week have ranged from a 3.6% fall for the TRY to a 3.1% increase for the BRL.

Equities fell sharply yesterday, with the S&P 500 down by 0.9% and the Nasdaq falling by 0.9%, though there is no convincing down trend here for now.

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