Coffee futures have jumped from seven-year lows of $1.0150 per pound in November to a high of $1.7180 last Wednesday.

Drought in Brazil has adversely affected coffee crop development at a critical time when the cherries are budding. Some rain late last week allowed prices to ease a bit, to $1.6860, by Friday but prospective yields for both the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 harvests are being threatened, with no meaningful relief in sight.

Friday’s USDA cattle report showed new placements onto feedlots in December rose 9.0 percent year-over-year, but total feedlot inventories still remain low at 10.76 million head — 3 percent below a year ago. Live cattle futures set another record high, hitting $144.60 per hundredweight on Thursday. That is 15 percent higher than a year ago and 34 percent above the five-year average for this time of year. Year-to-date beef production in 2014 is running 8.6 percent below a year ago.

Contact John T. Barone at