The price of corn surged 3 percent Thursday as rumors circulated that China is on the verge of making a big purchase of it.
Corn for July delivery jumped 18 cents to settle at $6.12 a bushel. Rumors of the big China purchase were never confirmed, but that didn't slow the spike in corn futures.
China has already bought 4.2 million tons of corn, and rumors were circulating Thursday that it would buy 400,000 to 500,000 tons more, said Richard Feltes, a vice president of research at R.J. O'Brien & Associates, a Chicago-based futures brokerage.
"I would say China, China, China _ that's what the corn market is trading here," Feltes said.
Other crop prices for July delivery also rose, but not as much. Wheat rose 14.25 cents, or 2.3 percent, to settle at $6.30 a bushel. Soybeans edged up 7.5 cents to $14.21 a bushel.
Other commodities were mixed. Gold for June delivery rose $1.80 to $1,641.40 an ounce, and May silver rose 29.2 cents to $31.779 an ounce. May copper fell 0.35 cent to $3.6275 a pound, July platinum fell $1.20 to $1,578 an ounce, and June palladium rose $6.05 to $663.30 an ounce.
Natural gas fell to the lowest level in a decade as supplies continued to grow. Natural gas fell 4.4 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $1.907 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Benchmark crude fell by 40 cents to end at $102.27 per barrel. Heating oil rose 0.69 cents to to end at $3.1251 per gallon. Gasoline futures fell 4.86 cents to finish at $3.1541 per gallon.