By SANDY SHORE
DENVER (AP) -- Sugar and grain prices rose Tuesday as traders speculated that demand may be improving for the crops.
Sugar prices got a boost after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters in Washington, D.C., Tuesday he believes the United States is going to make an adjustment in the sugar import quota.
Analyst Jack Scoville of Price Futures Group said he understood that the import quota would be increased by 300,000 metric tons. "That implies more demand. Obviously, that's considered a bullish move," he said.
It was the second consecutive day that sugar prices rose. Sugar for May delivery rose 0.44 cent, or 2.7 percent, to 16.98 cents a pound. Sugar hit a 29-year high in early February, with the May contract reaching 29 cents per pound.
In grains trading, soybeans rose on commercial buying, which suggested a round of exports. It also was a sign of how strong China's demand remains for the crop, said John Sanow, an analyst with Telvent DTN in Omaha, Nebraska.
Wheat prices followed suit while corn, too, was supported by commercial buying, he said.
In July contracts, soybeans rose 7 cents to $9.7550 a bushel; wheat rose 8.25 cents to $4.8875 a bushel and corn rose 3.75 cents to $3.6325 a bushel.
In other commodities trading, metal prices were mixed. Gold for June delivery fell $8.80 to settle at $1,153.40 an ounce.
Silver for May delivery fell 16.5 cents to settle at $18.249 an ounce while May copper rose 3.6 cents to $3.6005 a pound.
In the energy sector, benchmark crude for May delivery fell 29 cents to settle at $84.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In other Nymex trading in May contracts, heating oil fell 0.47 cent to settle at $2.2142 a gallon. Gasoline rose 1.35 cent to $2.3093 a gallon and natural gas rose 15.2 cents to $4.160 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.