Gold, Corn Prices Poised for May Slump

Many commodity futures are poised to log a decline in May as worries about dry weather and tensions in Ukraine have eased.

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Gold futures reached a 16-week low amid speculation the U.S. will bounce back from a winter slowdown. Gold futures for August delivery touched their lowest level in three months.

“Gold is negative, we need to close above $1,265 an ounce today for a short term buy signal,” said Lannie Cohen, president of Capitol Commodity Services. “Longer term, gold needs to close above $1,289 to reverse the downtrend."

Meanwhile, Jason Rotman, president of Lido Isle Advisors, said in a newsletter, "we would not be surprised to see gold head lower into the $1,240 (range).”

Through Wednesday, prices for the yellow metal had climbed nearly 5% this year with support from the tensions in Ukraine. That support appears to be fading as Russian President Vladimir Putin showing a willingness to work with Ukraine’s new leader.

Corn is set to halt a four-month winning streak as forecasts improved for the crop this year. Futures are set to tumble 9.4% -- the biggest monthly decline since June, following a surge of 23% in the previous four months.

Planting in key U.S. growing areas matched the average of the previous five years, according to the the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA added that it estimates domestic production could climb to a record level in the 2014-2015 season.

Coffee prices cooled after climbing the most ever for the period in the first four months of the year as traders worried about a drought in Brazil, the world’s largest producer of arabica coffee beans. Now the impact is being mitigated as farmers in the U.S. and Canada are speeding up sowing and stockpiles are increasing in America.

Crude oil and cattle were the rare exceptions this month. Reduced cattle slaughters and grocers stocking up on beef in preparation of the grilling season boosted prices for beef at the wholesale level. Feeder cattle are now up nearly 6% from a month ago.

Crude oil is set for an increase of 1.5% leading up to the summer driving season. U.S. crude inventories rose by 3.49 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Oil is up roughly 4.5% on a year-to-date basis.