Get ready to pay more for your Independence Day barbecues this year. Both hog and cattle prices were up this month, with hog futures closing in on an all-time high after paring back gains in April and May. Hog prices have skyrocketed more than 30% over the past year due to a virus that trimmed the U.S. herd by roughly 10%.
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Cattle futures are set to close the month at an all-time high on reports of tight supplies heading into the Fourth of July holiday, the most popular day for Americans to grill outdoors, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
Prices for feeder cattle are up more than 40% over the past year. The cattle herd in the U.S. started 2014 at a 63-year low. Earlier this month, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed the number of cattle slaughtered slid 6.3% this year from 2013.
Gold is up slightly this month after prices for the precious metal declined from March through May. Futures are getting a boost from continued tensions in Iraq as well as the Federal Reserve's policy-setting board saying in its June statement that it will keep interest rates near zero for a considerable time.
“Gold is interesting here. From a seasonality perspective, Gold is about to enter its most bullish three-month period (July-September),” said J.C. Parets, founder of Eagle Bay Capital.
Travelers will see little relief at the fuel pump this summer as oil continues to climb. The benchmark U.S. crude oil futures contract is up more than 11% over the past year and near a 52-week high trading above $105 a barrel. Traders are keeping a close eye on tensions in both Ukraine and Iraq.
“Crude oil made a nice reversal up [Tuesday] and is following both the Ukraine and the Iraqi situation close at hand,” said Lannie Cohen, president of Capitol Commodity Services.
“There is a major resistance level around our target of $108 a barrel at which point we will look for some type of reversal before liquidating and/or going short.”