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Logo: Rave Restaurant Group (file)
Pizza Inn and Pie Five parent company, Rave Restaurant Group lived up to its name last week, as the only major U.S. publicly traded pizza brand with anything much to "rave" about in trading activity. Rave ended the week at $1.76, up 5 cents from the previous week's close.
Meanwhile, all other publicly traded pizza brands took a dip, with No. 1 brand in sales, Domino's, closing down $7.73 at $286.57, while parent company of the No. 2, Pizza Hut, also fell $1.90 on the week with Yum Brands ending Friday at $98.77. Finally, Louisville-based competitor, Papa John's also dropped in value on the week, closing Friday at $60.46, down $2.82.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, average prices for cheese last week were up, with barrels averaging 5 cents higher at $2.25 and blocks up 4 cents at $1.96. Closing prices for barrels came in at $2.23 last week, while 40-pound blocks ended at $1.97.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said pizza cheese producers are expecting some upcoming ordering strength though demand is mixed, as buyers expect a potential price depression. However, block prices saw more up last week and barrels came down only slightly last Monday, after a bullish/short Thanksgiving holiday trading week.
Western inventories are available, but the U.S.D.A. reports that some market contacts feel current prices are not on par with supply. U.S. domestic prices for Parmesan and Romano have increased 8 cents.
Compared to the previous week, cash bids for wheat overall were mixed, while wheat export sales showed an increase of 8.4 million bushels for 2019-20. The price ranges for wheat last week were 3 cents lower to 15 cents higher, the U.S.D.A. said.
Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 2 cents lower, from $5.31 1/2-$5.41 1/2 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 15 cents higher at $5.83 per bushel.
Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, had no comparison from the previous week, but ranged from $6.53 3/4-$6.93 3/4 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was 3 cents lower to 5 cents higher, from $5.90-$5.92 per bushel.
The Energy Information Administration reported that total domestic gasoline stocks grew for the fourth consecutive week last week to 3.4 million (barrels)bbl, bringing the total to 229.4 million bbl -- 3.1 million bbl higher than last year's level at this same time.
Still, the EIA reports that demand dropped from 9.20 million b/d to 9.03 million b/d, which is slightly higher than last year's 8.88 million b/d during the same week. Stock growth, amid robust demand, has helped to stabilize the national average.
The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded this morning was still down a healthy chunk from last month when prices averaged $2.62, compared to $2.57 today. Still, last year at this time we were paying 15 cents less per gallon with prices in the $2.42 range for regular. Mid-grade ($2.91) and premium ($3.18) followed the same trajectories in trends over the last month and last year.
At $3 a gallon, diesel was just a penny lower than last week and last month, but actually down about 11 cents from last year's price at this time. E85, at $2.33 was up a penny from last week and last month, but a substantial 18 cents more than the price we paid last year.
Natural gas spot prices fell at most locations for the seven-day activity that ended on Dec. 4, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Henry Hub spot price rose from $2.33 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to $2.37/MMBtu over that same period.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the December 2019 contract expired Nov. 26 at $2.470/MMBtu. The price of the January 2020 contract decreased 10 cents, from $2.501/MMBtu to $2.399/MMBtu for the period. The price of the 12-month strip, averaging January 2020 through December 2020 futures contracts, declined 7 cents/MMBtu to $2.333/MMBtu.
The net withdrawal from working gas totaled 19 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending Nov. 29. Working natural gas stocks total 3,591 Bcf, which is 20% more than the year-ago level and the same as the five-year (2014-18) average for this week.
The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell by 27 cents/MMBtu, averaging $5.77/MMBtu for the week ending Dec. 4. The prices of ethane, butane, isobutane, natural gasoline, and propane, all fell, by 8%, 7%, 5%, 4%, and 2%, respectively.
According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, Nov. 26, the natural gas rig count decreased by two to 131. The number of oil-directed rigs fell by three to 688. The total rig count decreased by five, and it now stands at 802.
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 Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com 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.