Business & Finance: Rye Pulls the Plug

Famed for their telescopic eyesight, grain traders long ago spotted a poor rye harvest for this July. They began accumulating large rye commitments, sat back to wait for a price rise. On April 1 they had good news. The rye crop was reported in the poorest condition in 55 years. Persistent lack of rain had parched the grain fields of the Dakotas, biggest of U.S. rye producers. Demand for rye on the other hand, normally 35,000,000 bu. per year, would be bigger, since at least 5,000,000 bu. were needed in the whiskey trade. Only one factor disturbed the waiting traders as...

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