Iowa Public Television


Drought Toll Prods Markets

posted on August 2, 2002

Hello, I'm Sid Sprecher. Mark Pearson is off this week.

Many investors this week dove for cover on the release of government reports indicating the nation's economic recession was deeper, and the recovery more shallow than had been previously thought. Even-so unemployment remains steady and American consumers are continuing to spend, driven by habit and the lure of retail discounts and low interest rates.

But, Wall Street remains shaken by scenes of corporate executives in handcuffs, vivid reminders of the creative accounting practices that have stolen credibility from the marketplace and billions from investors.

In Rural American the underlying structure of its economy remains more fundamental, albeit of late no less volatile.


Drought Toll Prods Markets

Rains earlier in the week dampened bullish sentiment in futures trading pits. But new weather reports re-confirmed much of the grain belt is and will continue to suffer from the drought that has gripped much of the nation. Markets traded higher on weather concerns.

While corn and soybean crops have been stressed by the weather, estimates of how much yield may be lost to the conditions are still sketchy. But, reports from the field are indicating the nation's winter wheat crop, 85% of which has been harvested, will be the lowest in 30 years. And the condition of 64 percent of the spring wheat crop is rated as no better than fair.

In the Corn Belt, the heat and lack of moisture continues to threaten crops. Fifty eight percent of the corn crop and 55 percent of the soybean crop are rated no better than fair, several percentage points worse than last week.


Tags: agriculture crops drought markets news weather