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This Week in Commodities

Christopher Barker
June 20, 2008

Fasten your seat belts, Fools. It's been another roller coaster week in the commodities space, and we're climbing aboard for another quick run-through.

Oil prices fell Thursday after China announced that it will raise gasoline prices. The announcement apparently raised some short-lived concern over a potential impact on Chinese demand for oil. Range-bound trading in the $130s remains strongly intact, though. Natural gas, meanwhile continued its ascent and took out the $13 mark this week. Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) continued to deliver the good news in announcing a joint venture with Goodrich Petroleum for working interests within the Haynesville Shale of Louisiana, while Precision Drilling Trust (NYSE: PDS  ) took its bid for Grey Wolf into hostile territory.

Midwest flooding makes its mark
The relentless flood waters in the Midwest continue to devastate crops throughout the region. From a base of historically high food prices, this flood event is set to push prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans even higher. This Fool is waiting to see how much longer the Federal Reserve gets away with focusing on the core Consumer Price Index that excludes food and energy, because the figure increasingly flies in the face of the reality that consumers experience every day.

Coal-mining shares spiked sharply Thursday morning as key coal-carrying east-west rail lines continued to be cut off by the raging rivers. Before profit-taking set in, red-hot Patriot Coal (NYSE: