Hello, I'm Sid Sprecher. Mark Pearson is off this week.
An abundance of government reports issued this week all seemed to paint the same gloomy pictureÂ¦ that is, to say, the nation's economy remains stagnant.
The revised gross domestic product for the first quarter of the year showed an anemic annual growth rate of just 1.4 percent. Other reports showed consumer confidence went flat in June ... and demand for big-ticket items like cars and appliances fell for the second straight month. The Federal Reserve responded by again cutting a key interest rate.
Meanwhile, in the country, most eyes were cast skyward, as summer rains caused a reversal in recent upward price trends.
With the passing of the solstice this week, summer officially began. But for much of the nation, it's already been too hot and too dry.
By midweek, heavy rains and cooler temperatures provided a welcome respite to growers in the Midwest. Even before the rains though, America's major row crops appeared to be in top shape.
According to the Agriculture Department's weekly report issued before the soaking showers moved through the Midwest, 73% of the nation's corn was rated in good to excellent condition. 68% of the soybean crop garnered the same ratings. And with harvest well under way in some regions, 53% of the winter wheat crop is rated in the good to excellent range.
With the crops in such good condition, this week's showers also dampened price prospects. The July corn contract declined precipitously toward week's end. With the short-term weather forecast supporting further improvement in crop conditions, it appears likely that the downward trend will continue. July wheat is mirroring the trend in corn. A larger-than-expected winter crop and 76% of the spring crop rated in the good to excellent range are combining for a one-two punch effectively knocking down prices.