In this weekly Commodities Watch column, John T. Barone, president and commodities analyst for Market Vision Inc., offers a snapshot of the state of commodities for restaurants.

The USDA finally re-started posting market prices for most commodities on Oct. 17. However, survey-based reports and intensive data-based reports have been delayed or cancelled.

In particular, there will be no October WASDE. The Cattle on Feed report that should have come out on Friday won’t be released until Oct. 31.

The consensus of private analyst estimates in a survey by Dow Jones was for a 1.0-percent year-over-year increase in new feedlot placements for September to be overshadowed by a 4.2-percent jump in cattle marketings. As result, total feedlot cattle inventories are expected to be 7.3 percent below last year, which would imply significant year-over-year decline in cattle slaughter rates for the first quarter of 2014.

Cattle futures prices, which were $122 per cwt just six weeks ago, closed at $129.88 Friday. The April 2014 cattle contract is trading near-record highs at $134.76

Contact John T. Barone at jbarone@mktvsn.com.