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Corn futures volatile in April

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.

Just two weeks ago the USDA reported U.S. corn inventories at 5.4 billion bushels, well above expectations of roughly 5.0 billion bushels. That surprise sent corn futures tumbling from $7.35 pre-report to $6.29 on April 5.

However, in last week’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the USDA did not increase 2012-2013 U.S. corn ending stocks as much as expected due to a projected increase in corn usage for ethanol. The report helped send corn futures back to $6.58 by Friday.

In wheat, few changes were made to U.S. supply and demand numbers, and world wheat stocks were revised higher. Even so, wheat futures have increased from $6.64 to $7.14 so far in April. Wheat prices were oversold and have likely corrected high with the increase in corn.

One of the biggest changes in the WASDE report was the USDA raising its 2013 broiler price forecast from $95.00/cwt to $100.50/cwt, now 16 percent above 2012 levels.

Contact John T. Barone at [email protected].

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