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.

In last week’s monthly WASDE report, the USDA cut its forecast for 2013-2014 U.S. corn ending stocks by a larger-than-expected 95 million bushels to 1.79 billion bushels due to higher projections for exports, ethanol usage and livestock feed. In its subsequent Feed Outlook, the USDA tweaked year-ending supplies even lower — but they will still be close to twice as large as this past season’s (2012-2013) levels.

Corn futures that were still $7.17 per bushel in July had dropped all the way to $4.12 per bushel in November before bouncing back and stabilizing in the $4.20s, closing at $4.21 on Dec. 13.

The USDA made very small changes to its wheat balance sheet, except for increasing U.S. imports from Canada. But that fact, plus ample world wheat supplies, were enough to send prices lower. Chicago wheat futures, which were still $7.00 per bushel in October, closed at $6.18 on Dec. 13.

Contact John T. Barone at