Commodities: The cheese stands alone

At the markets last week, cheese was about the only thing making pizza restaurateurs crack a smile, as the prices of vehicle fuel and wheat shot up over the week, and only half of the brands monitored by this website showed much in the way of investor interest on Wall Street. 


Cheese producers’ loss was the pizza restaurateur’s gain last week as prices plummeted from $1.65 to nearly $1.50 during the trading week, closing Friday at $1.54.


September Chicago wheat closed 6 3/4 cents higher Friday, posting a new four-day high and showing signs of life after the previous week of bearish trading. Weekly export sales and shipments for wheat could be viewed as neutral to bullish at 20.8 mb and 26.4 mb, respectively, according to the U.S.D.A’s agricultural monitoring service. 

Kansas City U.S. No.1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 1 3/4 to 10 3/4 cents higher, at $4.09 1/4 to $5.32 1/4 per bushel. Kansas City U.S. No. 2 Soft Red winter rail bid was not quoted.  

St. Louis truck U.S. No. 2 Soft Red Winter terminal bid was 1 to 5 cents higher at $4.13 to $4.15 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 15 to 10 cents lower at $7.20 1/2 to $7.30 1/2 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was 13 cents lower to 6 cents higher at $4.90 to $5.12 per bushel.

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Natural gas

Natural gas spot prices fell at most locations this report week (Wednesday, Aug. 23 to Wednesday, Aug. 30). The Henry Hub spot price fell from $2.92 per million British thermal units last Wednesday to $2.86/MMBtu yesterday. 

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the September 2017 contract expired Tuesday at $2.961/MMBtu.The October 2017 contract price decreased to $2.939/MMBtu, down 2 cents Wednesday to Wednesday. 

Net injections to working gas totaled 30 billion cubic feet for the week ending Aug. 25. Working natural gas stocks are 3,155 Bcf, which is 7 percent less than the year-ago level and slightly higher than the five-year (2012–2016) average for this week. 

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell 8 cents, averaging $6.94/MMBtu for the week ending Aug. 30. The price of natural gasoline, ethane, butane, and isobutane fell 2, 7, 1 and 1 percent, respectively. The price of propane rose 2 percent. 

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Friday, Aug. 25, the natural gas rig count decreased by two to 180. The number of oil-directed rigs fell by four to 759. The total rig count decreased by six, and now stands at 940.

Tropical storm Harvey affected natural gas production both offshore (down by 0.6 Bcf/d Wednesday) and onshore (down by 3 Bcf/d last Saturday), as well as demand in the Gulf Coast region, according to federal and state data.

Pizza company stocks

In Wall Street trading last week, two of the bigger chains gained favor with investors, while two other chains lost value. 

Domino’s regained some of its losses of the past few weeks’ trading, rebounding to $183.59, up $4.86 in value from the $178.73 price it fetched at the close of trading on Aug. 25. Likewise, Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands saw a nice bump up over the trading week from $75.84 on Aug. 25 to $76.63 at the close last Friday. 

For Papa John’s and Papa Murphy’s, the story had a less happy ending. Papa John’s dropped from $77.35 on Aug. 25 to $74.42 on Sept. 1. Papa Murphy’s dropped from $5.72 on Aug. 25 to $5.28 at the close of trading Friday. 


Photo: iStock

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of and after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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