A traditional Thanksgiving feast for 10 should be under $5 per person this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Prices fell from last year especially for turkey, which is dropping due to low feed costs and increased supplies. Other staples like sweet potatoes, milk, dinner rolls, and pie crust are cheaper as well.
For non-traditionalists who prefer ham or roast beef, prices will likely be higher, as cattle and hog futures are higher this year than last.
As you sit down to eat next week, please remember to take a moment to give thanks for the farmers who produced the bounty on your table.
Record oil production
U.S. oil production reached an all-time record last week, with drillers pumping over 9.6 million barrels per day. Domestic oil drilling has boomed during the last decade as new technologies have allowed for a sharp increase in production at lower cost. Oil fields once deemed too expensive to tap are now gushing oil, creating economic growth in a variety of states, including North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
This increase in production has outpaced domestic demand, and the United States is now exporting a record volume of crude oil, over 2 million barrels per day.
Despite the increase in American production, global prices have been rising due to concerns about Middle Eastern stability and an agreement by OPEC to cut output. While this is good news for U.S. oil drillers, consumers are being squeezed by higher fuel prices, making the drive or flight to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving more expensive this year.
Sugar market is sweet
Sugar rushed toward a six-month high on Friday, topping 15.4 cents per pound.
The market has sweetened as investors buy sugar on fears of a supply shortfall in Brazil, the world’s largest producer. Poor weather has slowed sugarcane harvest in the South American country, and Brazil is increasingly using its sugar to produce ethanol fuel instead of food, which is reducing supplies available for export.
U.S. corn farmers may feel a pinch from the increased fuel production, as Brazil is the biggest buyer of U.S. corn-based ethanol; if Brazil can better meet its own needs, there will be less demand for U.S. ethanol and corn.
Although prices have climbed almost 20 percent in the last five months, sugar is still exceptionally cheap compared to its recent high of over 35 cents per pound reached in 2011, a realization that should bring cheer to bakers everywhere.