Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
The discovery of a handful of bright spots in the economy rallied Wall Street this week. The fact some companies are making money encourages the belief the broader economy can grow. Helping fuel the notion of better times ahead were numbers indicating there remains little inflation in the economy. Low interest rates and more consumer confidence have prodded housing starts. The commerce department reports businesses are reducing their unsold inventories. The hope is the stage is set for a recovery and many are watching to see if the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates to nudge the economy into gear.
In Rural America the fundamentals are much the same, although the market value of commodity inventories can fluctuate on anticipation as much as reality.
In the heartland the corn and soy harvests have slowed dramatically. At the start of the week 37 percent of the corn had been harvested, 8 percentage points below the average pace. Fifty three percent of the soybean harvest has been completed, about ten points behind the average pace. In cotton country 30 percent of the fiber has been baled, also a bit behind the norm.
The slow harvest pace has removed some of the usual harvest pressure on prices. Indeed trading in the soy complex has been influenced less by U.S. harvest pressure than by concerns over planting delays in the southern hemisphere. Analysts project the South American soybean harvest this year for the first time will surpass U.S. output. Concerns over dry weather in key Brazilian growing areas have supported soy prices.