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The Independent Online
n COPPER prices surged 2.1 per cent to a one-year high last week as traders bet that robust global demand will push LME inventories lower. A roaring US construction industry has been eating up copper pipe and wire, helping LME stockpiles to decline by 38 per cent since the middle of February. The LME now holds less copper than the world consumes in a week, and analysts don't expect stockpiles to start building before July.

n PORK BELLY prices jumped to a four-week high after the US government said inventories declined in April, raising concern that supplies are tight as the peak demand period nears. Inventories are 6 per cent down from a year ago. Buyers tend to store the cured and sliced bacon in the winter and spring for the peak summer season.

n WHEAT prices slumped 3.8 per cent to a seven-week low in Chicago last week as forecasts of much-needed rain in Kansas sparked speculation that farmers will harvest a bumper winter wheat corp. The area has received only about two inches of rain since the beginning of the year, 35 per cent of the normal level, which has created concern that the winter wheat crop, now in the ground, will be damaged.

n COFFEE prices rose 1.7 per cent last week on concern that drought and cold weather could damage trees and reduce harvests in Brazil, the world's largest producer. Rainfall in Minas Gerais state was 16 per cent below normal from January to April, according to an agronomist at the Guaxupe Coffee Co-operative. The states of Sao Paulo and Parana also received below-normal rain this year. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg