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Concerns Over Oil Spill Hindering Shipping Traffic Drives Down Grain Prices

Posted: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 at 7:29 am

press play to hear from ISU Economist Chad Hart

The possibility of having shipping traffic hindered by the massive oil leak off the Gulf Coast is having a major impact on commodity prices. Iowa State University Economist Chad Hart says about 60-percent of grain produced in the Midwest is shipped on the Mississippi River. Hart says conventional wisdom might suggest that having the gulf closed would increase grain prices, because that would limit access to the supply and increase demand. However, he says in this case it would likely drive prices down, because the idea that the export market might open up has prevented prices from taking a significant drop recently. The U.S. Coast Guard has said they would make very careful considerations before shutting down shipping lanes.