FUTURES FILE: Chocolate too rich for Valentine’s Day?

2014-02-14T12:20:00Z 2014-02-14T18:52:27Z FUTURES FILE: Chocolate too rich for Valentine’s Day?Walt Breitinger Times Business Columnist nwitimes.com
February 14, 2014 12:20 pm  • 

As romantics shopped for sweets this week, they may have been surprised by high chocolate prices.

While a holiday-driven price increase could certainly be a factor, the primary culprits are rising Asian chocolate consumption and insufficient West African cocoa production, which are reducing the supply of cocoa beans to American consumers.

Cocoa prices rose Wednesday to the highest level in over two years, grinding up to $2,961 per metric ton. Despite high prices, some analysts expect  rising incomes in the United States and developing nations will allow consumers to keep eating more sweets, which could continue cocoa’s sweet rally.

Silver Skyrockets

Unlike gold, its glittery sister, silver has been languishing for weeks – until Friday, when silver blasted upward by 80 cents per ounce, hitting its highest price since last November.

A weak U.S. dollar and declining silver inventories contributed to the sharp rise. As the value of our paper dollar declines, investors appreciate the inherent worth of silver and other “hard” assets.

Silver is highly valued due to its unique properties as the best conductor of electricity and reflector of light. The antimicrobial qualities of silver have been identified as a potential solution to the increasing plague of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Some artists (and girlfriends) consider silver as beautiful as gold and prefer silver jewelry which cost less than 5 percent as much. As the “poor man’s gold,” silver may gain in popularity due to the fact that an investor can buy more than 40 ounces of silver instead of a single ounce of gold. As of mid-morning Friday, the price of silver was $21.25, up $1.30 during the week.

Diners Dismay at High Meat Prices

Pork and beef specials in restaurants may seem expensive this weekend as well, as cattle and hog prices have continued rising.

Prices for each meat jumped more than a penny per pound again this week, pushing the cost of pork and beef near all-time highs. A nationwide shortage of beef cattle, an ongoing piglet-killing disease, and rising grain prices are all contributing to more expensive meat.

Longer-term, cattle traders are expecting beef prices to subside, but pork is expected to continue rising through the summer as the effect of the PED virus continues to manifest. As of midday Friday, live cattle for delivery in April were worth $1.42 per pound, while lean hogs traded for 96 cents per pound.

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Alex Breitinger

Breitinger & Sons, a division of Paragon Investments

Commodity Futures Brokers

219.707.5332

800.411.FUTURES (3888)

www.indianafutures.com

This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell, nor does it provide any recommendations in regard to the market. Information contained herein is believed to be reliable, but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy or completeness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results or profitability. Futures and options trading involve substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. Clients may lose more than their initial investment.

Please be advised that we cannot accept any orders via e-mail.

Opinions are solely the writer's. Walt Breitinger is a commodity futures broker in Valparaiso. He can be reached at (800) 411-3888 or www.indianafutures.com. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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