COVID Thanksgiving lowers prices, raises gratitude

Walt Breitinger
Walt Breitinger

The meal on your Thanksgiving table will cost 4% less this year with demand for birds and beef declining as folks hunker down, avoiding feasts and festivities with friends and relatives. Live cattle prices crashed on additional concerns about supply chain disruptions and packing plant shutdowns related to COVID. Cancelled trips to grandma’s house also hurt demand for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel keeping a lid on those commodities as well.

Our heart-felt thanks go out to all the farmers, ranchers, miners, and producers of other commodities we use every day for continuing to work so hard to maintain our quality of life while feeding, clothing and housing much of the world that is less fortunate than we are.

We would also like to thank all our first responders and healthcare workers who continue to fight for our safety and wellbeing not only during this pandemic but year-round even in “normal” times. 

Droughts Drive Crop Prices Higher: Severe dry weather in both North and South America is continuing to threaten production of corn, wheat, soybeans, and other crops. Approximately 76% of the western United States is experiencing exceptional drought while major bean producers Brazil and Argentina are experiencing extreme dry weather as well.

Beans for January delivery gained 35 cents per bushel compared to last Friday, trading at $11.83, while December corn was up 13 cents trading at $4.23 

Lumber Boosted by Charge to Suburbs: The pandemic has exacerbated the problems with city living accompanied by crime, high taxes, pollution, and congestion. Strong housing starts were announced Wednesday while single family home sales, announced Thursday, exploded to a 14-year high. Much of the housing demand was attributed to the rise in electronic learning, remote meetings, and home offices in suburbs while the 40-year low in mortgage rates continues to help affordability.

Lumber and copper, both used in new home construction, made new highs this week after going up for the past six weeks straight. Lumber for January delivery traded at $632 per thousand board feet while December copper jumped to $3.29 per pound.

Walt Breitinger is a commodity futures broker with Paragon Investments in Silver Lake, Kansas.