Coffee prices plunge on global supply forecast

AP News
Posted: Nov 30, 2012 4:45 PM

The price of coffee plummeted 3.7 percent Friday on expectations that bountiful harvests in Brazil and Central America will add to already ample global supplies.

Coffee for March delivery fell 5.8 cents to end at $1.506 per pound. The price has fallen nearly 34 percent this year, largely on predictions that Brazil's harvest will be robust.

Crop development in Brazil has been good while Central America's harvest is getting under way, Jack Scoville, vice president at Price Futures Group, said in an email.

Investors have begun selling their holdings to lock in profits, Vision Financial Group commodities analyst Boyd Cruel said.

Meanwhile, political wrangling over the "fiscal cliff" pushed prices lower for most commodities. Many investors are staying out of the market until they have a better idea about whether the Obama administration and Congress can agree on a new budget by the end of the year.

Automatic government spending cuts and steep tax increases will take effect Jan. 1 unless an agreement is reached. Economists believe that could push the U.S. back into a recession, which would cut demand for commodities.

Gold for February delivery fell $16.80 to finish at $1,712.70 per ounce. March silver dropped $1.152, or 3.3 percent, to $33.279 per ounce and January platinum fell $14.90 to $1,604.60 per ounce. March copper rose 4.45 cents to $3.65 per pound and March palladium rose 75 cents to $688.20 per ounce.

Benchmark oil rose 84 cents to end at $88.91 per barrel, heating oil was essentially flat at $3.0413 per gallon, wholesale gasoline fell 2.56 cents to $2.7614 per gallon and natural gas dropped 8.7 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $3.561 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In March agricultural crop contracts, wheat fell 22 cents, or 2.5 percent, to end at $8.635 per bushel and corn dropped 6 cents to $7.5275 per bushel. January soybeans fell 9.25 cents to $14.3875 per bushel.