By The Associated Press
Grains finished lower Monday after the Agriculture Department said it expects shrinking soybean plantings this year, as prices and returns decline.
While the government outlook sees strong global demand for soybeans, especially in China, lower U.S. livestock production and the availability of other grains for feed is likely to mean less demand in domestic markets for soybeans, at least in the short term.
Soybeans fell 21 cents to $14.315 per bushel.Corn production is expected to increase, following the impact of last year's drought on the crop. And wheat faces a "relatively mature market" in the U.S., with only moderate increases as a food ingredient, according to the report. Corn fell 6.75 cents to $7.0225 a bushel and wheat dropped 14.75 cents, almost 2 percent, to $7.4150 a bushel. Most metals are lower. April gold fell $17.80 to $1649.10 an ounce. March silver was down 53.1 cents to $30.91. Copper fell 3.7 cents to $3.7225 and April platinum gave up $18.60 to $1,696.10 an ounce. March Palladium rose $7.10 to $758.60. Energy futures were mixed. Benchmark crude rose $1.31 to finish at $97.03 a barrel in New York as the euro strengthened against the dollar. In other energy futures trading on the Nymex: â¿¿ Wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to end at $3.02 a gallon. â¿¿ Natural gas rose less than a cent to finish at $3.28 per 1,000 cubic feet. â¿¿ Heating oil gave up less than a penny to end at $3.23 a gallon.