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.

Beef demand usually slows at this time of year as retailers focus on turkey and ham for Thanksgiving, but year-end holiday beef items are the exception.

Choice beef tenderloin, at $12.31 per pound, is $0.32 above a year ago and will likely top last year’s record high in early December of $12.43 per pound. Choice boneless ribeye, at $7.57 per pound, is $0.09 above a year ago and should gain another $0.25-0.35 per pound over the next few weeks.

Friday’s USDA cattle report showed new placements on feedlots rose 9.8 percent year-over-year in October. High prices for finished cattle and cheaper feed prices improved margins for feedlot operators and attracted the uptick in placements. However, total feedlot inventories are still historically low, at 10.61 million head, which is 5.8 percent below a year ago.

After hitting a record high of $134.50/cwt on Oct. 31, live cattle futures eased a bit in November, closing at $131.48 on Friday.

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