John T. Barone, president and commodities analyst for Market Vision Inc.
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.
A series of winter storms and heavy snow swept through the Plains states last week, improving soil moisture and wheat prices. At the same time, the storms stressed cattle, hampering cattle feeding and calving, reducing weights and slashing slaughter rates.
Wheat prices, which hit a high for the year of $7.91 per bushel in January, dropped to a 2013 low of $6.99 last Wednesday before recovering to $7.13 on Friday. However, both NOAA and NASA are forecasting drought persisting across most of the Western wheat- and corn-growing regions through spring. Conversely, cattle futures prices jumped from $125.10/cwt on Feb. 20 to $129.95 on March 1.
The automatic budget cuts that came with Friday’s “sequester” threaten to lay off all 8,400 U.S. meat inspectors. The Obama administration is rumored to be considering a rolling furlough to keep meat plants open.
Contact John T. Barone at email@example.com.