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Business

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Column: Gold and silver shine

Breitinger

Gold, silver, and platinum prices rose sharply on news early Thursday morning that the European Central Bank will buy an unlimited amount of bonds from struggling European countries on the condition that they stick to the rules of the planned bailout.

Precious metals are considered safe havens from rising inflation, and they rose on expectations that the ECB will need to print more Euros to buy the sovereign debt of weaker European countries.

This week, gold rallied more than $50 per ounce (+ 2.9 percent), to $1,738; silver jumped $2.30 per ounce (+ 7.3 percent), to $33.65; and platinum climbed $56 per ounce (+ 3.6 percent), to $1,594.

Although many economists and financial analysts remain skeptical, the new plan orchestrated by ECB President Mario Draghi was “praised” by rising stock markets globally. S&P 500 futures rose 30 points, up 2 percent this week. These purchases will buy more time for the financially strapped member countries in the euro zone to get their financial house in order.

Hogs get hammered

Low demand for loins, hams, and bacon, and a glut of supply pushed hog supplies lower this week, as many hog farmers decided to toss in the towel and sell off their breeding stock. Many are liquidating large sows (adult females), which would be used to produce the next generation of pigs.

The high costs of feed (soy meal and corn) are ruining the profitability for many hog farmers. Many hog farmers have entered into the so-called “food vs. fuel” debate, noting that 40 percent of our U.S. corn crop is headed for the gas tank in the form of ethanol instead of livestock feed.

December corn was trading at $8.02 per bushel on Friday at noon. October hogs traded at 71 cents per pound, a new low for the year. As the new low futures prices work their way into the market, consumers can watch for bargain prices at the meat counter.

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