Copper prices jumped this week to their highest level since before the Sumitomo scandal broke just over a year ago. Supply disruptions are reducing world copper production at a time when London Metal Exchange warehouses hold less copper than the world uses for things such as pipes and wire in a week. Among the supply problems are low water levels in Papua New Guinea, which are forcing Broken Hill Proprietary Co to cut mine production, and a strike at Canada's Inco Ltd.
Coffee futures plunged more than 17 per cent this week, reaching their lowest price since April in New York, after forecasts n Brazil allayed fears of damaging frost. Temperatures in Brazil's major coffee-growing states are expected to stay at or above 6 degrees Celsius.
Pork Bellies sank this week amid signs that Japan will buy less pork from the US this year than traders previously expected. Japan had been expected to boost imports of US pork after foot-and-mouth disease was discovered in March in hog herds in Taiwan, Japan's biggest pork supplier. In recent days, though, Japanese agricultural officials have discussed the possibility of importing some disease-free pork from Taiwan, traders said, reducing the need for US supplies.
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