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U.S. floods, river closures delay corn, metals barges

Staff Writer |
Flooding in the U.S. Midwest involving key waterways is having mixed impacts on commodities markets thus far, with some already facing delivery delays due to river closures and more potentially to come as the high water moves steadily downriver, while in others operations remain normal.

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High water on the Mississippi River has prompted two closures on the upper channel from Cairo, Illinois, and further north. And flooding already occurring in St. Louis was expected to continue to expand along the Mississippi River throughout the month.

Other rivers are also affected, including the Illinois River, such that the Chicago Board of Trade has declared force majeure for corn and soybean shipping hubs due to flooding on that waterway, according to a Thursday notice.

Some metals shipments via barge are seeing or are expected to see impacts from the flooding, while the movement of crude oil, petroleum products and petrochemicals appeared largely unaffected thus far, according to sources across commodity markets.

Yet flooding and river-terminal closures have not necessarily impacted prices of affected commodities yet, according to sources, who also noted that flooding is a regular event, happening every few years.

For instance, corn market sources said that while the terminal closures will have some impact on physical deliveries, they are unlikely to affect prices as the market has largely already priced them in.

Flooding did delay scrap transactions in the St. Louis market that were still not completely finalized by late Friday. St. Louis is upriver on the Mississippi from major scrap-consuming electric-arc furnaces in the Southeast.

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