Commodities: Gas demand up, some grades' prices down

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: Gas demand up, some grades' prices down

Gas prices — at least for regular and mid-grade — actually dropped a few cents last week despite the fact that consumer demand hit an all-time high , according to Energy Information Administration records. Unfortunately, that good news for many at the pump was not matched by those on the stock market last week, where most of the brands watched by Pizza Marketplace took hits on the trading floor.

The U.S.D.A. reports that cheese barrel prices on June 15 closed down 3 cents to $1.45, while 40-pound blocks were up a half-cent to $1.5950. 
On June 8, the U.S.D.A. reported that cheese inventories in the Northeast were increasing, while the West reported fairly balanced stocks. 

Compared to last week, cash bids for wheat were mixed, with very little overall change in the wheat balance sheets. Old crop stocks increased 20 million bu, while new crop declined 9 million bu.  

Last week's export sales and shipments of new-crop wheat totaled 11.1 mb and 11.4 mb, respectively, which the U.S.D.A. classifies as a bearish start to the 2018-19 season that has total shipments 57 percent lower than a year ago.  

Wheat was mixed from 31 1/4 cents lower to 13 cents higher, with Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 31 1/4 cents lower, from $6.18 1/4-$6.33 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 23 to 25 cents lower, from $5.09-$5.18 per bushel.  Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 10 to 20 cents lower, from $7.17 1/2-$7.27 1/2 per bushel.  Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 13 cents higher, from $5.90-$6.18 per bushel.

Vehicle fuel

This morning, regular grade gas was at $2.895, actually down from $2.92 a week ago. Mid-grade and premium gas followed suit, coming in at $3.20 today for mid-grade, down 2 centers from a week ago, and $3.44 for premium, also down 2 cents. Diesel and E85 dropped about a cent over the week. These prices were either on par with last month or down slightly, though well above last year's averages when, for instance, regular averaged just $2.30 a gallon.  

Natural gas
Natural gas spot prices rose at most locations for the seven days ending June 13. The Henry Hub spot price rose from $2.85/MMBtu to $2.94/MMBtu over the same period. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the July 2018 contract price rose 7 cents, from $2.896/MMBtu to $2.963/MMBtu over those seven days.

Net injections to working gas totaled 96 Bcf on June 8. Working natural gas stocks are 1,913 Bcf, which is 29 percent lower than the year-ago level and 21 percent lower than the five-year (2013-17) average for the period.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell by 3 cents, averaging $8.58/MMBtu. The price of propane and isobutane fell by 3 and 4 percent, respectively. The price of ethane and butane rose by 7 and 3 percent, respectively. The price of natural gasoline remained flat week over week.

According to Baker Hughes, on June 5, the natural gas rig count increased by one over the previous seven days, to 198. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by one to 862. The total rig count increased by two, and it now stands at 1,062.

Pizza company stocks
Domino's was the lone winner in stock trading last week, closing up $7.30 from the previous week to wrap things up Friday at $277.34. 

Things were not as upbeat for the other three brands monitored by this site, with Yum Brands' longtime pizza chain, Pizza Hut, falling 56 cents over the week to close Friday at $82.62, while Papa John's also took a dip, down from $52 the previous week to $51.31. 

Finally, take-and-bake chain, Papa Murphy's was off five cents on the week to close Friday at $5.46. 

Photo: iStock

Topics: Cheese, Delivery, Dough, Financial News

S.A. Whitehead

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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