Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Cheese and wheat prices tumble, fuel costs are up

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Cheese and wheat prices tumble, fuel costs are up https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/wheat273.jpg

By Paul Schlienz, WRA

First, the good news.

After months of rising cheese prices, restaurateurs got some relief when this commodity finally took a tumble during the week of April 6-12, dropping 17 cents from $2.38, on the Chicago Mercantile, to an average of $2.21. Unfortunately, cheese prices remain almost 60 cents higher than they were one year ago.

Cheese prices closed on April 7 at $2.30, on April 8 at $2.26, on April 9 at $2.18, on Thursday at $2.16 and on Friday at $2.17. Wheat prices also fell for the week, averaging $7.11 on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, in contrast to an average of $7.30 during the previous week.

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Wheat prices were, nevertheless, much lower at the beginning of 2014, when they averaged as low as $6.02.

Wheat price, during the week of April 6-12, were $7.22 when they closed on April 7, $7.23 at April 8’s close, $7.12 on April 9 and $7.01 on April 10-11.

While prices are dropping for wheat and cheese, fuel costs are, however, climbing.

On an average, unleaded fuel is going for $3.63 last week. This price is up 6 cents from the the average, two weeks ago, of $3.57. One month ago, prices averaged at $3.51, according to the American Automobile Association and the Oil Price Information Service.

One year ago, prices at the pump averaged $3.53.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.81 last week, up from $3.75 the previous week. Premium gas went for $3.98, also up from $3.92 the previous week.

One bright spot:  Diesel fuel averaged $3.95, last week, down one cent from $3.96 during the previous week. One month ago, diesel fuel went for $4 at the pump. One year ago, diesel prices were $3.96.

Natural gas is also rising slightly. Spot prices rose at the majority of hubs for the week of April 2-9, and rose significantly at the benchmark Henry Hub, following declines during the week prior. The Henry Hub spot price jumped from $4.35/MMBtu, on April 2, to $4.66/MMBtu on April 9.

The May 2014 contract increased from $4.364/MMBtu, on April 2, to $4.586/MMBtu on April 9, at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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