Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 23, 2013

Futures File: Thanksgiving will cost a little less

Americans have a lot to be thankful for, and this year’s bountiful fall harvest is among them. Good growing weather and increasing efficiency allowed farmers to produce a record-breaking corn crop, which has helped to lower corn prices as well as numerous related food items.

For those preparing a Thanksgiving meal next week, one pleasant surprise may be lower-priced food. According to a recent survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of a Thanksgiving feast for 10 will be $49.04, down slightly from last year’s estimate of $49.48. The largest contributor to this price break is the turkey, which is down 2.1 percent in price versus last year. One major factor in the price decline is cheaper feed, like corn and soybean meal, both of which are much cheaper than last year.

As you sit down to enjoy this year’s feast, take a moment to reflect on those who work to provide the bounty.

Pricier Gasoline Looms

Despite saving on food, Americans should expect to spend a little more money this Thanksgiving as they travel over the river and through the woods, as gasoline prices are around a dime higher than last year.

Over the last two weeks, gasoline futures have rallied more than 20 cents per gallon, partially in response to a breakdown in nuclear talks with Iran. Traders had been expecting lessened tensions and a potential release of 1 million barrels of Iranian crude onto the global market, but a standoff between France and Iran seems to be stalling those plans.

Gasoline’s price increase has also been attributed to shutdowns at two major refineries. This temporary factor may remove as much as 450,000 barrels of refining capacity.

On Friday, gasoline futures traded at a one-month high near $2.76. This price represents gasoline’s value without taxes or other fees included.

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