COMMODITIES: Bubble Pricked

"Let the speculators go to it; all they're doing is raising the price of my crops."

In these jubilant words a Minnesota farmer greeted the news early last week that the price of September corn had reached $2.65½ a bu. on Chicago's Board of Trade, a new alltime high. Wheat at $2.80 was also close to a record price. But what he forgot was that prices bid up by speculators must come down—when the speculators get frightened.

The first "boo" came from J. M. Mehl, administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Commodity Exchange Authority. The Board of Trade's margin requirements,...

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