NEW YORK — Corn is falling after weekly export sales failed to meet expectations, adding to concern that slowing global growth will hurt demand.
May corn dropped 16 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at $6.445 a bushel Thursday.
While the government reported that demand for corn jumped from the previous week, it was still short of analysts' forecasts, said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting.
Corn had gradually been recapturing some of its losses following a plunge in prices March 28, after the government said that farmers intend to plant the most corn since 1936. Higher than expected inventories of the grain also fueled the decline.
The grain had fallen from $7.35 a bushel to as low as $6.29 April 25, following the reports.
In other agricultural futures trading Thursday, wheat edged lower and soybeans rose.
Wheat for May delivery fell 0.5 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $7.0675 a bushel. Soybeans rose 8.25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $14.3050 a bushel.
In metals trading, copper climbed from an 18-month low, gaining 1.7 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $3.2045 a pound.
The metal, which has a range of industrial uses, has dropped 16 percent this year amid concern that growth in China is slowing and Europe is failing to recover from recession after the region's debt crisis.
Gold for June delivery rose $9.80, or 0.7 percent, to $1,392.50. Palladium for the same month also rose, advancing $8.40, or 1.3 percent, to $669.80.
Silver fell 6.2 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $23.245 an ounce and remains close to its lowest level in two and a half years. Platinum for July delivery fell $6.40, or 0.4 percent, to $1,429 an ounce.
In energy trading, oil rose from a four-month low. Like copper, concerns about global economic growth have caused the price of oil to drop.
West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark oil for May delivery climbed $1.05, or 1.2 percent, to finish at $87.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Natural gas soared to the highest level in 21 months on signs of robust demand for the fuel. Natural gas futures rose 19 cents, or 4.4 percent, to end at $4.40 per 1,000 cubic feet. The last time natural gas hit that level was July 2011.
Wholesale gasoline rose 2.65 cents to $2.7555 a gallon. Heating oil gained 4.45 cents to $2.7791 a gallon.