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U.S. agricultural markets nervous after quake in Japan

A severe earthquake and tsunami in Japan rattled U.S. agricultural markets Friday, as traders tried to assess the potential impact on import demand for such commodities as pork and corn.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A severe earthquake and tsunami in Japan rattled U.S. agricultural markets Friday, as traders tried to assess the potential impact on import demand for such commodities as pork and corn.

Corn and lean hog futures saw some of the sharpest declines as most farm products sold off on fears the disaster would slow demand from a key buyer. Further selling came from traders looking to just exit commodity markets because of the overall uncertainty that follows a natural disaster.

"The immediate impact of the earthquake was extreme uncertainty -- the condition most hated by investors," said Bryce Knorr, analyst for Farm Futures, an agricultural publication.

Avoiding the broad sell-off was lumber, with futures for May delivery climbing $6.40, or 2.1%, to $315.50 per 1,000 board feet on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Futures rose $10 in overnight trading, the largest one-day gain allowed under exchange rules.

For more, see: Quake in Japan Rattles U.S. Agricultural Markets

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