Temperatures across the South are sweltering and rapidly creating drought conditions. Thermometers in many cities topped 100 degrees in recent days, and recent months have been record hot with less than half of normal rainfall.

For many farmers, the high heat and dry conditions are hurting the crops they’re preparing to harvest.

Cotton, soybeans and peanuts are major crops in many Southern states, and each of those markets are heavily dependent on exports to China. The ongoing trade war and lack of exports to China have kept prices depressed. The recent heat wave is adding insult to injury for many farmers.

Forecasts are raising hopes for some cooler weather and rain, but some of the damage to the crops can’t be undone.

As of midday Friday, soybean futures for delivery in November traded for $9.15 per bushel, while December cotton fetched 62 cents per pound. Peanuts aren’t traded on U.S. futures exchanges, but recent USDA reports showed prices near 20 cents per pound, down more than 10% from last year.

Economy on edge

Numerous reports released in the past week showed bad signs for the U.S. economy.

Manufacturing, the service economy and construction all are indicating a slowdown, and U.S. job growth in September was anemic. While few metrics are pointing toward a recession yet, slowing growth is a warning sign that the economy is reaching a peak, much like a roller coaster nearing a standstill as it finishes climbing before a plummet.

Watching these figures and political uncertainty in Washington surrounding the impeachment inquiry led by Democrats triggered many investors to dump stocks in the past week, dropping U.S. stock markets to a one-month low Thursday.

Markets bounced back Friday as traders grew more hopeful that these worries would prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates again to boost the economy, repeating a market see-saw pattern that has become increasingly common recently.

As of midday Friday, December S&P 500 futures traded for 2,935, while the December Dow had rebounded to 26,400.

— Walt and Alex Breitinger are commodity futures brokers with Paragon Investments in Silver Lake, Kansas. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.