Iowa Public Television


Weather, good and bad, moves markets

posted on December 29, 2000

As the year 2000 crawls toward a close the nation's economy appears to be slowing, if not wobbling.

Stock markets are struggling to pull up from a fourth quarter nosedive. The index of leading economic indicators suggests the slowdown will continue well into next year. Consumer confidence has ebbed to its lowest level in two years.

The financial community hopes the Federal Reserve will begin to ease interest rates to jump-start the economy. Many banks already have lowered mortgage rates. Sales of previously occupied homes increased sharply last month.

Rural Americans are hardly immune from the machinations of the financial community, but typically their lives are defined more by nature than man. Folks on the Southern Plains got a stiff reminder of that this week.

Weather, good and bad, moves markets A coating of ice across the South stranded motorists and caused power outages. Further north, frigid temperatures iced up sections of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, slowing barge traffic and deliveries. River marine companies are working to keep a clear channel in the St. Louis and Alton areas … as fears rise that ice jams could plug the river as far south as Cairo, Illinois.

Good weather in other parts of the world is wreaking havoc at the Chicago Board of Trade. Favorable growing conditions in South America could produce bumper soybean crops. After a six-week climb due to European demand, soybean futures at the Board of Trade fell sharply.<

Tags: agriculture markets news weather winter