- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Soybean prices surged Wednesday on expectations of rising demand from China and tighter supplies.

The actively traded July contract for soybeans rose 36 cents to settle at $15.05 a bushel Wednesday.

China’s demand for soymeal, which is used to feed livestock, has grown this month. Sales had slumped last month over concerns about an outbreak of a bird flu virus.

“Poultry and pork demand fell off a cliff in April,” said Sterling Smith, a commodities strategist at Citigroup. “Bird flu is not such a worry this month, and China is back in the market buying soybeans again.”

In other trading, corn rose one penny to settle at $4.75 a bushel and wheat slipped 6 cents to $6.64 a bushel.

Prices for precious and industrial metals were mixed. Gold for June delivery fell $6.50 to settle at $1,288.10 an ounce. Silver for July fell 6 cents to $19.34 an ounce.

Copper for July slipped 2 cents to $3.12 a pound. Platinum for the same month rose an even $6 to $1,474.90 an ounce. Palladium for June rose $4.60 to $830.45 an ounce.

The price of oil reached a one-month high Wednesday after a report revealed a large drop in U.S. crude supplies. Oil prices have climbed more than 4 percent this month.

Crude oil gained $1.74, or 2 percent, to settle at $104.07 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

- Wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $2.99 a gallon.

- Natural gas fell 8 cents to $4.47 per 1,000 cubic feet.

- Heating oil was flat at to $2.95 a gallon.



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