After a strong start to the year, the world’s biggest steelmakers lost ground in the third quarter and raised caution flags for the rest of the year, expecting to be hit by uneven demand, falling prices and high raw-material costs.
Since being spotted in 2005, the disease has spread to all parts of the state. And with no known cure, citrus greening is threatening to cripple a $9 billion-a-year industry that supplies 90% of U.S. orange juice.
As if the real-estate bust hadn’t wreaked enough havoc on Florida, farmers say abandoned lots left behind by would-be developers have become a breeding ground for a plague that is killing thousands of the state’s orange trees.
Negative pressure persists in the European flat products market. Having recently brought more capacity back on line, domestic mills are now suffering from a lack of orders, since end-user demand remains weak in many sectors. Under these circumstances, distributors refuse to rebuild stocks. This has led to further discounting this month.
The weakening US dollar has also made third country imports of commodity grade material more competitive, although the longer delivery lead times are still problematic in today’s rapidly changing climate.
The ICE December cotton contract hit $1.1980 a pound minutes after trading opened, eclipsing the previous record high set in 1995 by more than 2 cents.
Cotton prices began rising in July on a post-recession rebound in demand. When flooding in Pakistan and heavy rains in China wiped out parts of the major producers’ harvests, futures pushed past the $1 a pound level as traders feared a world-wide shortage.
First it was heat and drought in Russia. Then it was heat and too much rain in parts of the American Corn Belt. Extreme weather this year has sent grain prices soaring, jolting commodities markets and setting off fears of tight supplies that could eventually hit consumers’ wallets.
A wild card in the export market is China, which has not historically been a significant buyer of American corn. China surprised experts when it made some purchases earlier this year, but it is not clear if it will be a major buyer of the current crop.
The report sent ripples across Wall Street, where prices of stocks of food companies that buy large amounts of grain fell. Chicken giant Tyson Foods Inc. slipped 7.7% Friday.%